February 5, 2014

Redefining the Writing Process with iPads & Mobile Devices with Beth Holland by Kate Wilson
This is the last session of the iPad Summit in San Diego. Its pretty impressive how many people are still here! It is also pretty funny because everyone is hugging the walls (including me) because our batteries are all dying and we all need full batteries before flights tonight. Hopefully everyone gets home safe. So many of are colleagues have been stranded due to the storms out East (which is so hard to believe in the sunshine of California right now) so I hope people aren’t here just because their flights were cancelled 🙂 Before I get to Beth’s talk, I just want to say I hope you enjoyed this iPad Summit in San Diego physically or virtually if you were unable to join us. I know I learned a lot and a huge thanks to all my EdTechTeacher cohorts for teaching so much about iPads, learning, and teaching. I thought I knew alot but my mind has been blown. These people really know their stuff! I was excited before to be part of this team but now I am ecstatic. I really have the best job getting to work with all these folks and I hope the participants here and the readers out in the blogsphere will come and join us at a future conference or workshop. Now onto Beth’s presentation. Her materials are online here. Beth just asked “whos brain is ready to explode?” Everyone raised their hands and her response was “Great! This one is about to push you over the edge!” Beth introduces herself as a former elementary school tech director. She started off as a 9th grade enligh teacher but was not asked back after year. She offers some great advice, you cannot structure your 9th grade English class off watching “Dead Poets Society.” Beth had the fortunate or unfortunate chance to be given the first iPad. She said it became a really expensive clipboard. Nothing she was doing on computers worked on the device. Then she had an epiphany: I can’t take the old process and put it on the new device!  Its always about the learning objectives. Beth’s learning objective today: Look at the process. Product will come out of that.

Writing from 1.0-3.0

Writing 1.0: Static paper from student to teacher and back then into as Alice Keeler said “the backpack yeti,” where the paper is never seen from again. Writing 2.0: Type the paper and share the paper digitally and incorporate feedback. This feedback can be either in comments on Google Drive or even to embrace the power of the audio feedback. When we get things read back at us, we hear what is actually there not what our eyes want to see Writing 3.0: Mobile process allows for inputs and outputs. You can talk to it, you can draw it, then you can of course type to it. Collaboration using cloud based turns writing to not be a solitary event. We can write together. Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 3.04.03 PMBeth poses a great question that almost stumps the crowd at first: Why do we ask people to write? Someone yells “to express their thoughts.” Beth asks: Why do we want them to express their thoughts? Then again we hear “to get them to think” Beth responds again with: Why? This gets a dialog going that always comes back to Why?  until we get to: “what they have to say.” Beth opens Penultimate and draws a quick outline of what a paper would look like. One point then another then a Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 3.04.17 PMconclusion. She then shoots it over to Evernote so she can start the writing process. Beth then shows how talking into the iPad can work for learners whose typing abiities might not be at the same level as thier congintive abilities.  A mind blowing point Beth makes about talking into the iPad is that it makes you think about punctuation and grammar. If you find yourself in conversation, saying the word “comma” maybe you use it too much 🙂 but also she makes a good point is that if you find you are running out of breath, then you have a run on sentence. Its all about bringing it back the process of writing. Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 3.04.26 PM Anything that can be typed into an iPad can be read back. When you think about the process, this is a great feedback tool because when it comes to editing, you can get it read back to and ask “Does this make sense?” What is even better is that this is a setting even if you don’t have Siri, its a feature that must be turned on in Accessibility. Mindmapping is also a powerful tool the iPad can enable. ExplainEverything does this really well. (See my post about Greg’s talk earlier today or Jens yesterday from Reshan to learn more). Ubiquitous Opportunity was coined by Todd Curtis  in this excellent blog post. This means the feedback is always there. Google docs enables it to happen anywhere at anytime. You don’t have to setup a time for feedback. You can also pull it up at anytime to check in before a student gets lost. Its constant feedback.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 3.09.58 PMAnother great idea Beth has is using Telgami as a peer reviewing app. You have the avatar read your work back to you and you quickly tell where you are missing punctuation or if it makes sense. Screenchomp, which is a free Screencasting app, can be used to give give feedback. If she saw the below image, she may not understand what Beth had to say. However, if she provide a screen cast of herself talking through the mistakes and how they can be corrected. Without that capability, the margins would get pretty busy.

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 3.05.03 PM

Beth is not vilifying the paper but she quotes one our colleagues:

Screen Shot 2014-02-05 at 3.10.32 PM

  Collaborative multimedia books then bring writing to life. Beth sites an collaborative example between a teacher in Chicago and Iceland whose learning objectives were to learn about community then used BookCreator to make that collaboration happen to learn about how community is developed across the world. Book reports are used as a learn objectives to learn about characteristics that make up a book such as plot, characters, or plot arc. Beth shares this video made by 8th graders to exemplify how we can go beyond the Book Report. The story behind is that the students didn’t like the book at all and Beth bribed them with a pizza lunch to make a trailer to convince her to watch the book. At the time they were working on persuasive writing, character development, and using only creative commons content. Therefore, even though they were excited they didn’t have to “write a report” this video caused them to write 4 times.” Poetry in motion. Beth used video to help students conceptualize their poems once they had been written. The 6th graders were not excited about having to create poems about their lives but when you added photos and videos, this required them to revise their work, share with each other, edit based on peer feedback, and put out final product. However, the objective was not the product. The objective was to express thier ideas. The process captured that objective. In a perfect segway, an audience member expressed concern that her middle schoolers are going onto a traditional high school that wants them to make that 5 paragraph essay only. Beth responds that the process at the younger age still gets them to that objective. The experience to express themselves in these more creative ways doesn’t limit them to the not be able to write an essay. Let them learn! Mind blown completely now. This was a great session to finish out my first EdTechTeacher conference and my liveblog. I leave you with how Beth ended her talk: