This past week I spent three days in iPad training, as every student in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, in the district I work in, will be carrying their own iPad. All instruction will be geared toward this initiative. Huge changes are coming our way and I have to wonder if we, as teachers, are ready for how instruction will be delivered and assignments will be collected.
In the three days, we covered: Pages, Notability, and eBackpack. We learned how to “mirror” our iPads on the SMART Board and created presentations to introduce our students to these new tools. It was information overload in every sense imaginable, but… the thought of all the wonderful and diverse projects that would make learning FUN again gave me hope that teaching to those standardized tests would be approached in a whole new way and true student-centered learning would take place. Students should be held responsible for learning and discovering knowledge on their own. What struck the loudest chord for me was hearing that differentiation would be embraced and promoted for all students.
What will the role of this new technology be as it is incorporated into the classroom? I think if used properly it will encourage engagement and get kids excited about learning. It has the potential to broaden horizons like never before. The possibilities for extending the learning beyond the classroom through connectivity will naturally promote curiosity, creativity, and collaboration. The iPad is one powerful device and we are at the crossroads of major changes in education worldwide. Tech can’t replace the relationship between teacher and student, but it can optimize time and free up the teachers and students for more learning experiences. Obviously, one of the biggest hurdles in adopting digital devices is professional development. Training teachers is always an obstacle in our present configuration of a typical school day. We are in exciting times educationally speaking, we have access to the largest information platform in history and we all need to learn how to use it productively and to its fullest capacity, and wisely.