December 31, 2012

End of Year Wrap Up – where we’ve been and where we’re going

This is officially our last post for 2012, and, looking back, we realize that 2012 was certainly the Year of the iPad. Over the past 12 months, we have hosted workshops, webinars, and our inaugural iPad Summit, with the goal of helping educators to transform their classrooms with these devices.

Where We’ve Been….

Last January,  in his post Calculus, MacBeth, and Geometry – using iPads to revolutionize the classroomEdTechTeacher’s Greg Kulowiec asked, “How can we leverage technology to create an environment where students are able to share, demonstrate their understanding & create something that others can use in the future?” to kick off 2012.

Co-Founder, Justin Reich, then wrote several articles in February on his Education Week blog, EdTechResearcher. In light of the explosion of mobile devices, he raised the question: Which Facts do we Need?… What kinds of knowledge do you have to have at your fingertips in order to create new knowledge?

By March, Director Tom Daccord examined the Realities of Moving #beyondthetextbook, Beth questioned the phrase “Get Out Your Notebook“, and Greg Kulowiec documented a Paperless Research Paper with iPads.

In April, as an organization, we asked, and tried to answer, the question Why iPad? To sum up our discussion, Greg wrote:

The iPad will not save education. The iPad is neither good or bad, it is and only ever will be an iPad. It doesn’t deserve a pedestal and will never take the place of fulfilling classroom discussion and human interaction. Yet, there is a place for this device in our schools.

Throughout the remainder of the spring and into the summer, we continued to write about…

Greg set the tone for the 2012-2013 school year with his article,
iPads Are Like Hammers, and then Tom published his Edudemic article, 5 Critical Mistakes Schools Make With iPads (And How To Correct Them). His writing issued a challenge to schools to look beyond the apps, provide extensive professional development for teachers, and clearly articulate how these devices can be put in the service of learning. Tom concluded his article by stating,

Schools that share a common vision for learning, extensive support for teachers in learning to use these new devices, and a willingness to learn from the teachers around the country who have already piloted these tools are much more likely to reap the benefits of their investments in iPads.

In October, as a lead up to the iPad Summit, Beth collaborated with EdTechTeacher instructor, Shawn McCusker from Chicago. Together, they wrote Don’t Be the Next Beta-Max followed by From Smoke Signals to Tweets: How The Evolution Of Communication Is Changing Your Classroom.

Today, we are faced with the challenge of helping to define for our students what is appropriate and effective for these new devices – iPad, Chrome Book, laptop, smart phone, etc. As we think about how we can effectively leverage them to transform our curriculum and empower our students as creators, we also need to think about how we are developing our students as citizens and future leaders in the digital world.

If You Meet an iPad on the Way, Smash It wrote Justin on the morning of the November iPad Summit. Quoting a famous Zen koan, he challenged that “Once the way comes into focus—once we can imagine the learners we wish to cultivate and the experiences we wish to nurture—then we can think about iPads….  If the nitty-gritty details of iPad use distract us from our larger mission, then we need to smash them. If we get to lost in the “how” of iPads in classrooms, then we need to stop and ask “why?”

Following the Summit, in response to Justin’s  Plea to Teachers with iPads: Make Your Practice Visible, blog posts from participants started to flood #ettipad and have continued to emerge.

… and Where We’re Going

What will 2013 bring? Where are we going with this deluge of iPads and mobile devices? What’s next? And, more importantly, what do we want our students to be able to DO?

We are excited to continue the conversation on this blog, with our Winter Webinar Series, in April at the EdTechTeacher iPad Summit Atlanta, and this summer with our annual Summer Workshop Series. Come join us!