Tag Archives: ipads


From Teacher to Student: How Learning Helps Us Teach

This past year, I had the benefit of being both a student and a teacher. I experienced the pressures of meeting someone else’s expectations, the demands of keeping up with assignments, and the challenge of organizing my own learning. At the same time, I continued working with other teachers who suddenly found themselves in the exact same situation but as my student. The merger of these two worlds – as well as significant research into cognitive science, adult learning, and professional development – has resulted in a complete redesign of my iPads in the Elementary Classroom workshop for this summer.
Though I have led this workshop more times than I can count over the past few years, 2016 promises to be completely different. Here’s why:

Learning About What You Don’t Know

None of us experienced elementary school with iPads. We have no idea what it feels like to be a young learner with this technology or in this type of environment. Many of us remember school as a structured, teacher-led experience requiring us to memorize, repeat, and behave ourselves. From a cognitive perspective, learning occurs when we build new patterns from prior knowledge. This becomes difficult when we have nothing on which to construct new understandings.
Workshop Plan
This summer, workshop participants are going to be encouraged to act the age of their kids. They are going to be elementary students in my classroom and engage in activities that will allow them to experience this new type of learning environment. We are going to use Popplet to complete visible thinking routines and engage in deep inquiry. With Explain Everything, we are going to tell stories, explain problems, and practice reading fluency. Throughout the workshop, we will curate, reflect, and share using SeeSaw as a digital portfolio. After three days, hopefully teachers will start to know more because they will have experiences on which to build new ideas.

Teachers (& Students) Need to be Comfortable

After extensive research into technology integration and adult learning, it became apparent that teacher comfort needed to become more of a priority. Teachers who feel comfortable with the tools will be more likely to use them in creative ways, and the only way to accomplish this is through repeated application and use.
Workshop Plan
At EdTechTeacher, we have a saying that “all the good apps fit on one screen.” This summer, we are going to only use about half of a screen. While excellent apps do exist, I have decided that I can do just about everything with Book Creator and Explain Everything. Yes, we will create books and screencasts, but we will also create posters, collages, puppet shows, and drawings. With those two apps, combined with Google Drive, we will collaborate, explore the potential to work with multimedia guide books, and build learning centers for students.

Leveraging a Constructivist Mindset

Multiple studies have established a correlation between a constructivist mindset and successful use of technology in the classroom. Teachers who possess an inherent belief in student-centered, active learning tend to use technology in more creative ways. Additionally, though all teachers report feeling pressure from administrators, parents, other colleagues, state mandates, common curriculum, and even students, the most successful ones cite their own positive attitudes and beliefs as the key to their success.
Workshop Plan
Shifting from a more traditional, teacher-led environment to a student-centered one is HARD! First, most teachers never experienced this as learners. Next, they may not be comfortable with facilitating this practice. To mitigate these challenges, we are going to use the Design Thinking framework to scaffold instruction. Not only will participants experience Design Thinking as students, but they will also explore how it might support their own instructional decision making

Letting Go of Control

One of the challenges with student-centered learning is giving up the control and encouraging students to guide the process. As teachers, this feels disorienting. We wonder how we can ensure that students are gaining the skills that they need as well as how to keep them on task, particularly with elementary students.
Workshop Plan
Though student response platforms such as Nearpod and Formative are typically viewed as formative assessment tools, we will explore the potential for using them to guide students through inquiry projects, design research stations, and assess progress while independently completing tasks. By structuring aspects of the process, teachers will experience the balance of voice and choice and accountability. With careful planning, young students can engage in deep meaningful work, and teachers can ensure that they are gaining the fundamental skills that they need.

Voice and Choice

Technology allows students to control pace, space, and place. Students (whether elementary aged or teacher aged) learn in different ways and at different speeds. They need to be able to choose the learning environment that best supports them as well as the tools that allow them to engage with content and demonstrate their learning. To encourage students of all ages to take ownership of their learning process, they need voice and choice.
Workshop Plan
This summer, participants will have lots of freedom to choose their learning pathway. They will be encouraged to take advantage of the accessibility features of the device, to choose how they want to represent their learning, and to work through scaffolded challenges designed to provide hands-on opportunities that meet them at their level. By presenting clearly defined learning objectives and tasks, teachers will be able to experience what it feels like to choose how they want to share their learning within a structured, student-centered environment. Hopefully, by the end of the three days, my students will have new experiences on which to base their instruction next year.

If you want to come learn with me, I’ll be in Atlanta and Boston this summer!


Featured Image via Unsplash

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The history of education technology (in under 4 minutes)

Sure, you know about the current trends in education. You know how popular iPads, Chromebooks, and other devices are in schools around the world. But it hasn’t been that long since the days of having a single desktop computer in a classroom was a technological marvel.
In fact, it’s probably worth noting that we’ve come a long way in terms of edtech. So what better way to review the past than through a cute and informational YouTube video? I bring you, amazing ladies and gentlemen, the history of education technology in under 4 minutes.
This video does a great job of quickly walking you through the distant past as well as the recent changes happening in modern classrooms. From the building blocks of technology (geometry is an example) to the current proliferation of devices, there’s a lot to cover.
This video does not cover everything that’s happened in terms of the history of education technology, of course. It barely scratches the surface. But it also does something many other videos do not: it starts in the distant past rather than just a few decades ago. Enjoy!

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How to choose between iPads and Chromebooks in the classroom

The race to be the go-to technology in your classroom is more than heating up. It’s on fire. Like, someone grab a fire extinguisher because the race is ablaze. The two biggest contestants in this race are, not surprisingly, products from Apple and Google.

Both Apple and Google are in a high-stakes race to own the education ecosystem. They’re going about it in different ways but their goals are the same: to have their products used by the next generation.

Apple wants to basically lock new users (e.g. schools, districts, states, countries, etc.) into the Apple ecosystem by offering high-quality hardware and apps.

Google is more intent on offering low-cost hardware (they don’t even make most of it) and instead focusing on the software side. They want to offer free enterprise-quality web tools and apps that are incredibly effective. For some reason, neither company offers the ‘perfect’ option but they are offering some great products.

See Also: Can you run a classroom with an iPad?

When I say ‘products’ what I mean is hardware. Let’s examine the most popular education technology tools in classrooms today. The Apple iPad and the Google Chromebook. The former offers reliability, ease of use, and mobility. The latter offers a cost-effective way to use Google (and other) software. So, really, the biggest differece for most schools at this point is the price tag.

But is it more than the price difference? There’s a great discussion video from Lesson Planet that dives into the many things you should consider when trying to choose between iPads and Chromebooks in the classroom.

See Also: The beginner’s guide to Chromebooks in the classroom

Watch the video if you’re making this tough decision right now. Heck, just watch the video to be a more informed consumer – it’s quite good. Enjoy!

So which would you choose if you ran a school district? If you ran a country? Weigh in by mentioning @DailyGenius on Twitter sometime!

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More than iPads: 25 education tablets worth trying

Whether you’re a distance learner, online student, or an online teacher, there are a lot tools at your disposal. From the tried-and-true iPad to Skype to Gmail, you can do just about anything thanks to the power of technology.

The market for education tablets is getting saturated with fantastic options for just about everyone in the world of online learning. So what happens when you need to actually identify and choose a tablet that will help your understanding of key topics, interactive learning, and more? There area lot of options but fear not! This list is designed to help you identify some of the top options you should be checking out.

This list is by no means complete and is a crowd-based document. Just use this as a jumping-off point for starting (or continuing) your search of all things tablet.

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