Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ipads ipods androids and Orewa

The Orewa College scenario (all kids get ipads, its a stationery item) happened at a slow news time in the NZ school holidays but it certainly highlighted a few different issues within education. Paying for our own technology seems very anti “free education” however we seem to be increasingly paying for everything, and if this has benefits for our childrens education then can we afford not to. Some schools have creatively solved this issue by making the device and the internet affordable and children are able to work to pay for there own technology. Factors might be how long will your iPad/netbook last? Imagine asking parents to pay between $400 & $1000 and you need a new one in 24 months. How about all this purchase/investment in technology only to discover that your school has no idea how or what to do with the hardware. Imagine schools wasting kids time with digital portfolios of kids that teachers spend hours on, only to discover they made no impact on learning. Or doing electronic worksheets because you can. The worry could also be schools just wanting to keep up with their neighbours by jumping on the band wagon.

So we need to know what actually does make a difference and then make a plan for how. Nearly every school I talk to have an ipad trial, I'm wondering how they sync, what apps they use and importantly what is at the center of their decisions schoolwide and in classrooms, no question its piecemeal.

I have been lucky enough to get an opportunity to actually do some research into mobile learning. I have been granted the Auckland Primary Schools Association Traveling Fellowship Award. This means that in 2012 I have been granted two terms leave to travel the world to look at mobile learning. My goal is to shake aside the rhetoric and schools wanting to buy gear without making good decisions, replacing them with decisions that put learning in the center.

I will be asking my twitter, Principal and ADE networks for help with finding time to talk and share with me. It will mean lots of NZ travel as well as looking across the pond (Cadel country) the USA and beyond. It should be exciting and probably about three years too late in terms of 1 to 1 mobile devices but regular schools will be taking a bit of time. The early adopters are already over the line, and I hope they are starting to provide the evidence later adopters need.

A few years back I had a friend ring me asking if I wanted to be a millionaire, I said yeah mate, turns out he was selling Amway and wanted me to join him in the money. I said I would wait three years and when he was millionaire he could ring me and I would start then, I was happy to wait. So if you are waiting a bit to see what happens with these ipads then a few months more wouldn't be too long (he never rang back, some mate).

If you are a school or district or cluster who have the mobile devices rampant and are making connections beyond the classroom then I'd love to hear from you. I'm interested in sync, infrastructure, apps, research and more importantly learning/teaching/kids.

I wouldn't mind hearing from people about their thoughts on having a device on their stationery list.


AllanahK said...

Excellent. I am sure you will be just the person to cut through the banter to get to the good oil.

I have a couple of schools who are just joining their iPod Touch, iPad trials. I know they will be keen to hear what you find out on your travels.

Good luck.

Regan Orr said...

Good to see you doing some research into this. As of yet, we have not bought into the e-portfolio stream as I am not completely convinced. Instead, we have opted for another option that our parents love. As for mobile devices, yes, I can wait another 6 - 12 months. We have them in school but not to the extent where we are 1-1. We use what we do have wisely and we aim to plan more, but the biggest thing for me is ensuring high quality learning and teaching, with sound pedagogy, engaged kids, creative learning using IT as a tool, rather than saturating our kids with IT and noone knowing what to do with it. All the best for the research.

Stephanie said...

Sounds exciting! I think in the end it all comes down to good teaching. A student can learn nothing notebook and everything with pencil and vice-versa. But given the costs to parents etc. you would be wanting to make sure that there was a decent return on parent's investments unlike those scientific calculators from my day.

Mike Anderson said...

Unless a clear and well articulated pedagogy is in place then the whole exercise is yet another excursion into interactive whiteboard land. Hello Southland, where are the uber-achievers from your investment in those? You have had enough time to show results.

As you do your research keep Seymour Papert as a barometer. Do these devices change or reinforce the way a school works (for better or worse?). Jet engine on a stage coach etc.

Anonymous said...

Have you been to Southland to visit the classrooms Mike?
An interesting assumption you make?
Any idiot knows that ICT stand alone has no impact in a learning environment, and that solid pedagogy is the frontrunner.
Professional development is ongoing in Southland and the continuum of learning is as always diverse, however I wonder what type of results you are wanting to see?
Is everything in education to be MEASURED!!! Anally retentive!??? Not in innovation I believe!

Mike Anderson said...

Sorry Anonymous Southlander I must admit it has been five years since I was last down there and rumour has it that since then most Southland Schools have got electricity on and swept the chickens and straw out of the rooms into the school yard. So if you do still have hitching posts at the school gates I should ride the pony into town and take a look.

Cheers Mike

Podgorani said...

Thanks guys for the feedback, seems mike and our Ranfurly Shield holding friend are having a bit of fun. Seems my old mate Alan D might be worth tapping for some ILT funded mobile devices if the research/blueprint comes through with some visible benefits. I think we all are a bit touchy about measurable things especially when the Govt has set some pretty poor examples for all schools to follow.
And i haven't met someone who doesn't mind poking a bit of crap at the IWB community, particularly the sales people.
I cant help but thinking that the devices gold will be the 24/7 after 3pm usage and collaboration, will the classroom ever close?. good stuff keep up the banter. The Podgorani loves a good laugh..

Darren Sudlow said...

Your point about being in a position to take advantage of this sort of technology is very important. I haven't really read or heard much on Orewa's strategic thinking or where their teachers are at with respect to blended learning. As a parent I would want to see an impact from my investment. I will watch with interest.

Love a Duck! ( Partito y Monito) said...

Dom's school is starting to phase iPads in this term for the older grades (years 6&7) with the plan for them to be in the early grades within the next two years. It's a affluent community but they have a lease plan if needed. There is a huge blurb on the philosophies behind it all so if you want to read it, let me know. Nut x