This Q&A With Tom Daccord and Justin Reich originally appeared on Learning Science International, publisher of their book iPads in the Classroom: From Consumption and Curation to Creation.
LSI: What’s the backstory on how this book came into focus? How did you become interested in the topic of using technology in classrooms?
TD: In 1999, I was a high school history teacher at an independent school outside of Boston. The school decided to purchase laptops and launch an experimental 1:1 laptop classroom, and they were looking for a teacher to lead that initiative. I said I would be happy to participate. In 2000, when we launched the initiative, almost no one knew what 1:1 was. There were very few laptop programs in North America and, as you might imagine, there was a dearth of resources and pedagogical guidance. Initially, I made a lot of mistakes. After some time, I started to identify resources and developed activities and then eventually a paradigm for integrating technology in the classroom. About four years into the 1:1 experiment, the IT department asked me to join them. Initially I said no because my interest wasn’t technology, per se. I don’t have a technology degree, I know practically nothing about coding, and I still can’t type the smiley face text symbol. My interest is purely pedagogical. I explained that and they told me I wasn’t going to be fixing people’s computers or programming. When they explained that I’d be helping teachers explore technology in the service of learning, I was definitely interested. They reduced my course load, and eventually I spent most of my time working with teachers on integrating technology in the classroom.