Thursday, March 15, 2012
The video is of an unfortunate gentleman trying to cope with things going wrong. I suspect the presentation was designed to go wrong in the way it does, but it plays with an experience everyone who has worked with technology has had, the computer freezes, goes of on a frolic of its own leaving us to figure out what we can do next to redeem the time. When Bill Gates was introducing one of the early incarnations of Windows he was demonstrating how it works and he got what most people who have ever worked with computers have gotten at one time or another, the frozen screen. He got himself out of the situation, but this is the lot of all pioneers, innovators, and discoverers. When we chart new territory we are making up the maps as we go along. And part of map making is trial and error.
Thursday, March 8, 2012
One thing the iPad can help students to do is find their place in a more global classroom. As the video suggests we have much to learn from other cultures and other cultures have much to learn from us. It is increasingly more difficult for nations and communities to live in isolation from one another. It is important to understand those we do not agree with and find ways to resolve our difference. As has been said many times before, peace is not the absence of conflict, but having the strategies and institutions in place that will enables us to confront and peacefully resolve conflicts when they arise.
Friday, March 2, 2012
article on the edtechteacher blog on using iPads in the classroom. The article makes suggestions and recommends apps to enable teachers and students to make the most effective use of this tool in the classroom. Most of these uses require the user of the device (the student) to have round the clock access to the device. It excels as a tool for organizing, for studying, for creating stuff and moving that stuff between platforms, and sharing with others what she or he has accomplished. To read and annotate reading assignments, for example, students need the iPad with them when they are reading and studying. The problem often is that work cannot be submitted in the manner in which we are accustomed to recieve work, but there are ways to submit work and their are accommodations that can be made that will make submitting and assessing work a more expeditious process.
When students went home for the February break they might have used some of that time to set up their Blogsy apps and play with making it work when they had some leisure time to do that. We set up the accounts in class, but class time is limited and as a result time was lost that might have been used in more productive ways, ways that are more focused on the goals of the class. I personally think we all learn best by doing. Of course, we all need to be given some instruction on how to do what needs to be done but the goal is always to keep that to a minimum. The thing that the iPad can enable students to do very well is to learn by doing, by creating and interacting with the kinds of things they are learning about. The iPad rewards curiosity and the first goal of most teachers is to create curiosity about the materials they teach. But to only use the iPads for forty-five minutes to an hour two to three times a week does not seem to take full advantage of this potential.
The video clip is about mystery and the importance of mystery in our lives. Mystery and intrigue are not just features of successful films, but of most aspects of life that stay with us and tantalize us; that inspire us to explore the unknown and discover new things about us and our world. Part of the intrigue about the iPad revolves around our uncertainty as to how to best employ it, we can see great potential and possibilities but sometimes feel frustrated as how to realize this potential and tap these possibilities. This is not about haphazardly throwing something into the educational arena and waiting to see what happens (though there may be a small bit of this), it requires that time be set aside to speculate and plan and discover those things that can be done and how they might done most expeditiously. It requires time for training and preparation. There is much about the iPad and other new technologies that is very intuitive and these tools can sometimes be put to good use just by setting people free to explore. But it is also important to help people to discover how to explore effectively. It is important to familiarize people with the strengths and limitations of the tool (though at times we discover ways to do the impossible because we were never told that it was impossible) so the time can be put to its best use. Sometimes the smoke and mirrors blind us as to true potential of the tools we have. There needs to be time for tea and reflection.