Skip to main content

It's not you, it's me (iPad edition)

I always hesitate to discuss this issue publicly because I know I'm coming from a place of privilege.  We had Apple in for a meeting last week and they were, of course, trying to sell us on the iPad -- but it would be a step backwards for me.  I've been teaching at laptop/tablet computer schools for 15 years now.  We skipped over the transition-space that people are now in with their 1:1 iPad programs mostly because compressed technology like that didn't exist at the time.

The iPad is not the be-all-and-end-all of education technology and it is slightly discouraging that high school folks are not moving to more accommodating technologies even though the cost is greater.  The principal issue is that iPads are very limiting to both the teacher and the student.  They do not do construction well -- just compare writing anything of any length with an iPad versus Word on a tablet computer.  Contrast the expansive but integrated and organized nature of OneNote on a tablet PC with any app on the iPad; it is too difficult to bring together material of different types and formats into one document-space and then work on it to put together something meaningful.

That's not to say that what people are doing with their iPads isn't amazing. You use the tool you have, and you use it to the utmost.  But, they are not the solution to issues in pedagogy to technology in high schools.  They're a stepping stone, and a small one at that.  For many schools, limited by budgets and policies, iPads form that intermediary step.  They will eventually move towards a more sophisticated tablet environment.  I would say objects like the Microsoft Surface are likely the next step for schools not already invested in iPads.

Curiously, our next step is to likely marry our next tablet computer with a second, smaller device.  The tablet computer is the construction space... the smaller device is the consumption.

My ultimate dream, of course, is that the construction space becomes more fluid.  Say, any surface (wall, table) within the classroom become the construction space with the student merely logging on to that surface -- and they still carry a device that allows them consumption and simple construction.  But that's likely five years away.
Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Teacher Professional Development and Microsoft OneNote

During the first three weeks of July, I have the amazing opportunity to work at the Park City Mathematics Institute.  It is, without exaggeration, the best professional development opportunity for teachers of mathematics.  Participants spend three weeks thinking deeply about mathematics and mathematics education.

There are three main aspects of PCMI:

learning mathematicsreflection on practice (RoP)becoming a resource to others.I'm part of the team for RoP and in charge of the third aspect, in which participants consider a gap in professional development back at their home districts and work in small groups to help fill that hole by developing a rich PD seminar on that topic.

It is not easy to develop professional development.  Teachers who haven't written PD have to patiently learn how to write (essentially) lesson plans for someone else.

This year, I used Microsoft OneNote to facilitate the process.  We have a central OneNote Notebook through which I lay out the daily schedule…

Desmos, OneNote & Replay

So using Desmos activities are a great way to encourage exploration and discussion in math class -- if you haven't tried them, I encourage it.  They're collected at https://teacher.desmos.com/ 

But ... Desmos doesn't give you quite enough.  It doesn't have a way of capturing the work that the student does within their space, and it doesn't allow for annotation of class contributions as we come together to discuss.  Well, not surprisingly, OneNote comes to the rescue. 
Using the Windows shortcut Windows-Shift-S it is really quick to snag the Desmos screen and pop it into a waiting OneNote page.  From there, we can grab our pen and (using wireless projection) talk about what all the different responses mean and where to go from there.
(An aside : one of the nice features of Desmos activities are the way you can hit PAUSE and it will pause all the screens of the students working.  I always give them a heads up "10 seconds to pause..." and it's refreshing…

Five reasons to learn Math with OneNote

So, Alice Keeler - @alicekeeler- who is an amazing blogger and an incredible resource for those using Google products, posted 60 Ways Math Teachers can use Google Classroom last April.  It came across my desk the other day and, since school hadn't started yet, I thought it might be a good reflection for me on how one could do similar tasks with OneNote Class Notebook.

I went through the list and checked that I could accomplish them all with OneNote and re-wrote her post with those modifications ... but it was looking a little "plagiarism-y" so, just to check, I emailed Alice to see if she was okay with it.  She was not, but encouraged me to do my own brainstorming.
So... Math Teachers & OneNote (including OneNote Class Notebook).  My top five... 
1) The Under-valued value of scribbles & notation
If you really want to be "paperless" (and that should never be a goal - you want to be digital so that content is no-cost) in a mathematics classroom, it's n…