February 5, 2014

Challenge-Based, One-Screen, & T21: The EdTechTeacher Approach to iPad PD with Tom Daccord by Kate Wilson

Tom Daccord (@thomasdaccord) is the co-founder and CEO of EdTechTeacher. The presentation materials for his talk can be found here.

In this last afternoon of the San Diego iPad Summit, Tom is going to outline what makes EdTechTeacher work as a professional development (PD) provider. As the newest member of the EdTechTeacher team, I have been learning so much going to see the other EdTechTeacher instructor’s present in both the hands-on pre conference workshops and the conference sessions but mostly I have been able to hear common themes such as OneScreen of Apps, sharing with the world, and mostly importantly asking “Why?”

Tom begins by explaining how he will structure this talk.

  • What are ETT’s pedagogical commitments?
  • What ideas are consistent across our work?
  • How does ETT instantiate these commitments in our iPad professional development?”

The EdTechTeacher framework is centered on the idea that “Educators shouldn’t think of iPads as repositories of apps but rather as portable media creation devices.” One of the exciting aspects of the iPad is it versatility and flexible. We see the iPad as an device that can reach all learners. Also create multiple pathways for all learners.

Challenge Based Learning

We don’t want to create a environment thats says “touch here now here.” We want to establish the learning to happen with the learner, not passive. We want to empower the teachers who in turn empower students to own their learning.

ETT spends most of the time during our Workshops (60%) with Challenges not in talking. Introductions are only 10% of a session/workshop to talk about a concept. We lead with pedagogy not the tool. The tool is not the focus.

Tom uses an example of using Socrative but ETT doesn’t start by talking about the tool. The workshop starts with the goal of the learner or the learning objective. For example, if we want to collect information about what our students are learning and feeling at the beginning of lesson and use that information to adapt our teaching practice then we can learn using Socrative.

The primary role of ETT Specialist is to help teachers imagine what is possible. We can provide examples to get the creative juices flowing but its up to the teacher to then embrace the tool in the best way for thier students.

Reflection is important to reevaluate and make sure the practice is still aligned with learning goal. Its not a reflection of the tool but more what are the great questions we can ask to exploit the tool. Its not about the features of the app but about the information gained from it.

iPad WarmUp Challenge

This is a challenge done in the iPad Workshops after explain the concept of the iPad as an excellent tool

1. View most recent applications
2. Search your iPad for apps, emails & content
3. Create a folder (for 2+ apps)
4. Take a picture (and email it if email is set up)
5. Take a screenshot (and email if email is set up)
6. Lock your screen orientation.
7. Swipe between recent apps with 4 fingers. Close app with 5.
8. Create a 20-30 second movie starring a colleague.
9a. Go to https://edtechteacher.org/ipads. Add to Home Screen.
9b. Copy 2nd sentence in paragraph. Open Notes app and paste into Note.
9c. Select sentence and “Speak” it. (Hint: “Accessibility”)
10. Bookmark http://vimeo.com/edtechteacher as “ETT Tutorials” in an “ETT” folder.

However, the challenge is not using the tool. Its how you build instructional practices off the tool. The devices can capture understanding that can allow for feedback and evaluation.

Explain Everything or Book Creator Challenge

Its not about the tool is about using the app. Its teaching the app through a challenge. ExplainEverything is great for screencasting and BookCreator

Simulate & Emulate

ETT Workshops want to envision scenarios of how it could work in their classroom. All Workshops will work just like they could be in a classroom. The instructors have all been classroom teachers so they understand how to simulate and emulate classrooms of all ages. The below are 5 characteristics of the workshops.

a. Constructivist Fundamentally ETT Workshops are constructivist. Its the core tenant of the workshops.

b. Collaborate All the challenges are in groups and typically the room is set up in clusters for group work.

c. Differentiated We try to meet the needs of different aptitudes and learners so we let people move at their own pace.

d. Personalized Our instructors don’t just present. They circulate among the participants for one on one interaction. They provide just-in-time support. We try to never touch their screen to allow the learners not to be dependent. They may get a hint from the instructors so that they learn to trouble shoot on their own. ETT tries to limit their workshops to 20 people in order to allow for enough individualize attention.

e. Goal-oriented Time allotments keep participants on task. If you give too much time, then they will end up on email or facebook. Tom says he has even has polled groups to see if they did check facebook/email and mostly its only when the presenter talks. When engaged with a short time limit, they were on task and less prone to be distracted.

One Screen

EdTechTeacher’s philosophy that instead of chasing apps that they want to follow Ever Green Apps which mean they can work anywhere for any grade and any subject level. App chasing leads to a huge amount of time and effort spent finding apps to teach content which means you think of the iPad at the substitution level. The other part is the time spent chasing those apps for subject levels is less time spent coming together as a faculty and all use the same core set of apps. Rallying around a single group of apps allows you to develop a deeper curriculum development and integration of the apps.

Chris Lehman from the Science Leadership Academy is even using core apps with his faculty to centralize evaluation across all subjects.

iPad As…

EdTechTeacher has reviewed many apps to help learning and which to introduce in the classroom.  It is located on our website under Teacher Tools and called iPad As… to help prevent App Chasing for teachers and administrators. The goals is not to be a comprehensive list but a curated list based on the experience of our instructors.


The 4 Cs: Consumption, Curation, Creation, and Connection

The 4Cs is framework for the ETT Workshops. Depending on whether its 1, 2, or 3 day workshop we can get to elaborate more on each step.

Consumption: In this first phase, where ETT explores ways in which iPads can be used to consume content, focusing on reading, research, and accessing multimedia. This can be through such things as using the “Reader” function in safari to limit the amount of extra information on the page or using Text to Speech accessibility feature for auditory learners

Curation: In this phase, not only does ETT discuss workflow challenges and cloud storage solutions, but also strategies and best practices for constructing innovative learning environments that leverage the digital content created by students and teachers.

Creation: A majority of the workshop will focus on what students and teachers can DO with iPad. From audio, video, and screencasts to digital notebooks and eBooks, ETT looks at the potential for creating new learning objects. This is really the heart of the workshops as the goal is always to unleash student creativity.

Connection & Collaboration: Given the potential to instantly publish and collaborate from iPad, ETT  explores the potential for creating a connected classroom that expands beyond the walls of the school through collaborative projects, digital portfolios, blogs, and social media. This tends to be tailored to what type of enviornment the school ETT is working in. Sharing the content is really what ETT gets excited about. It expands the knowledge of the world when kids can connect with eachother beyond thier teacher and thier school.


This is a concept to help build PD and educators experience with the iPad in the classroom. “Someday” is the ultimate goal of where they want to be. Its essentially the vision of the iPads in the classroom. “Monday” is really the stepping stones and the reality of what little steps and strategies need to be done to implement that faraway goal.

SAMR model


This is an implementation process of using the digital solutions in the classroom. It has been written extensively by ETT colleagues and Dr. SAMR himself, Ruben R. Puentedura.

The takeaway is that this is a goal educators to move towards Redefinition and Transformation of learning and learning environments.


Tom ends with “Learning seems useless unless it prepares us to be creative.” -Ben Shneiderman – University of Maryland


To learn more about our Workshops for your school contact gail@edteachteacher.org or join us during one of our 40 workshops in 6 cities this Summer or even the PreConference Workshops during the ETT Summit in Chicago July 28th.