April 19, 2013
iPad Summit Recaps & Reflections
DJs, Papert, Jet Engines & iPads by Greg KulowiecEdTechTeacher's Greg Kulowiec reflected on his conference presentation and keynote. During his talk, he reflected on the disruptive nature of technology and its impact on education. Specifically, he used an analogy of the evolution of music DJs.
...In many ways, iPads are quite similar to the DJ setup above. The simply lower the barriers to expression and demonstration of understanding in multiple creative capacities. The technical skills required in the past to create all sorts of creative content are simply no longer required. Does this mean he student is any less creative, I would argue no. Just as the skill of digging through dusty record crates, physically beat matching two songs and skillfully organizing a record collection were once necessary skills for a DJ, those skills in many ways no longer apply nor do they have any substantial value. Technology has lowered the barrier and more students than ever before now have the tool available to create extraordinary content.... It is not that the structure of schools are non-functioning institutions, but it may be that the structure of that institution is simply not ready to accommodate the potentially disruptive nature of this device (or any mobile device for that matter). Further, the full capacity of these devices simply can't be met because the structure of the existing institution isn't designed to allow students to create and flourish while using them. Spend any time in an iPad classroom and you will quickly realize that the iPad classroom becomes the iPad hallway and the iPad cafeteria. Meaning, when students are creating, taking diverse paths to demonstrate their understanding (podcasts, movies, screencasts, journals, writing) the existing space and structure isn't flexible enough.... Technology has the potential to be disruptive and that disruption can lead to change. However when these disruptive technologies (jet engines or iPads) are used in conjunction with existing structures that were not intended nor able to handle their capabilities, all potential for lasting change and substantial impact is lost....>>>Read Greg's full reflection on The History 2.0 Classroom.
Strapping Jet Engines to Stagecoaches; or iPads in Schools from Justin ReichEdTechTeacher Co-Founder, Justin Reich, offers his take on Greg's allusion to Seymour Papert's stagecoach analogy.
My colleague Greg Kulowiec gave a wonderful keynote address, which in part focused on an evocative analogy from Seymour Papert's Mindstorms (and recounted later in various writings). As the story goes: imagine an engineer who tries to strap a jet engine onto a stagecoach to increase its power. Of course, the jet engine's power threatens to destroy the whole enterprise, so the engineer throttles down the jet engine until it is safe to use on a stage coach. At that point, it is also pointless to use on a stage coach.... And while Papert wrote the analogy to describe the effect of bringing desktops computers into schools in the 1980s, the metaphor still resonates deeply with us today. Our hardware is orders of magnitudes more powerful than what Papert could access, and yet these gains in power all too often simply lead to a greater degree of throttling rather than translating into more impactful learning.... So we soldier on in Papert's quest, not to ask how we can use computers in schools but to ask how computing devices might help us rethink the bounds of the possible in schools. If you want to be a pessimist, you might note that we're still asking these questions two decades after Papert posed them. If you want to be an optimist, there were 700 people in attendance at the iPad Summit heading home to their schools to work on the answers....>>> Read the full article on Justin's EdTechResearcher blog
Learning can look like THIS from Don OrthDon Orth, featured presenter from the Summit, reflects on the impact of iPad on learning spaces in his school.
Last week, a small team of teachers and I traveled to Atlanta to participate in EdTechTeachers’ iPad Summit (their second national conference on iPads–the first was in Boston, Fall 2012). It’s one of the best tech conferences I’ve been to because 1) it has a clear focus–iPads in education, 2) attendees come with specific question and actively seek answers and 3) its goal is “transforming education.” The questions keynote speakers and many presenters revisited were: “What does transformative education look like? Why is important? What are we trying to do? How do we meet our students in their world and leverage THAT?” ...>>> Read the rest of Don's reflection on the Hillbrook iLab Blog.
Put a classroom of students and a teacher in a room with iPads. They have access to the near-infinity of resources available on the web and a wide range of tools for content creation and collaboration; not to mention the “extreme” mobility of such a little, power-packed device. Ask everyone to get to work and notice how they move around the classroom trying to get together around the friction, gravity, and sheer bulk of traditional classroom space and furniture. Watch how students migrate to the halls and out of doors to do their work together and alone. It’s no coincidence that the hallway has become a new classroom space. I’ve seen hundreds of photos of students lined up comfortably in the hallways of their schools or on outdoor stairs, doing their work. The mobility is fabulous–students do work EVERYWHERE, but we also need to consider that this migration to any other place than the classroom is perhaps a failure of the classroom itself. Ask students to create their own space for learning and it looks NOTHING like the classroom. Ask adults where they enjoy doing their most creative and inspired work and–you guessed it–it also looks NOTHING LIKE THE CLASSROOM....
Why iPads by Meade DavisFirst grade teacher, Meade Davis, reflects on the value of iPads in her classroom.
... The conference center was filled with educators discussing why school needs to change. So often we focus on how. How do I make my students do well on tests? How will my interactive board help my students learn? How do we get iPads in the hands of every student? What most impressed me about his conference was that we were finally talking about the why. Why has the classroom been centered around the teacher, rather than the students? Why do schools need to change in order to prepare students for the future? Why do we need technology to enhance our students’ educational experience? One of the most thought-provoking statements that I heard at this particular conference came from Justin Reich, co-founder of EdTechTeacher. He stood before a room of educators and proclaimed, “If iPads are the answer, what was the question?” As teachers, we do not want our students to have iPads because we think they are going to somehow magically transform what is going on in the classroom. We are already transforming the classroom. Teachers are no longer “teachers” in the way that we have viewed them for so long. We are facilitators, moderators, individuals, who challenge your child to think and grow beyond themselves....>>> Read more of Meade's thoughts on the K-12 Journey
iPad Summit 2: Innovations in Learning from Jen CareyJen Carey live-blogged for us throughout the iPad Summit.
While the theme of the conference centered on the Apple iPad, it was educational theory, not the hardware, that was the focus. The conference gave priority attention to innovations in learning, and that’s what made it a worthwhile experience for me....Jen focused on four themes in her article:
- A Single Device Will Never Be the “Solution”
- If you decide to go with iPads, then you must invest
- Recognize that your learning environment will change
- A stimulating event