Wednesday, April 25, 2012

#4 on tour #finally

Being a fan of the springfield family today i recalled a Simpsons clip when Homer went to India, Apu wanted Homer to look up his brother. Cut to a scene in india, at least 15000 people in the scene, all with beards and black hair and in the same clothes. Homer got the description of black hair and a beard. So he asks any guy "are you Apu's brother?" "no". Then he asks the next guy "are you Apu's brother?" and miraculously he says "yes", Homer then says "finally".

My finally took 10 schools and a whole development of my thinking.

My initial thinking was along the lines of no way 1to1 ever. Device, laptop, anything.
My doubts were along collaboration and or lack of it.
My doubts too were about laptops being a better device than iPods and iPads, if you ever considered 1 to 1.
I was most concerned about drill and skill apps, the letter games and maths questions. Those junior teachers who justify iPads by using maths and spelling apps as "what is best for kids". 700 bucks to do spelling games - not on my watch.
Also i was not keen on devices for engagement only! that would make interactive whiteboards valuable, they are engaging, but we all know what the research says about the whiteboards (insert sales pitch here and pass it off as IWB research)
By the way there is 1to1 research (all positive), i will leave that to Mr Rusty and the academics to read.

So what happened was some clarity in thinking and some explanation in how things work from a black shirted man at apple and some discoveries from my slow to act grey matter.

I had a hyperstudio moment. Remember when Hyperstudio needed multiple inputs, you chose lots of different ways of setting up pages and inserted drawings and animations and linked paths and brought in  movies. Well iPads are requiring students to multitask again. There are hundreds of different ways to do things. Opening, inserting, changing, adjusting thinking, personalizing work, adapting, sending, retrieving, re-doing. With no server, no file structure, kids are forced to think creatively about solving how things are done and also looking at different ways of doing things, and kids in the same class have multiple options to do this. Don't get me wrong, problem solving a file structure or lack of it is a narrow field of learning, but the fact that it is forcing teachers and kids to make choices about what they do and how is solid stuff.

Some schools have chosen the network approach and looked for a backbone to send and drop files.
They have used dropbox,, google docs, evernote. For the Kiwis out there the best is a combination of whatever works for you, but free is good. Oh and by the way which ever you choose you can call it your learning management system (insert lol here)

so back to the "Finally"what did i see.
I saw leadership. I saw a relaxed differentiated andragogical approach to PD/learning for teachers.
So whats new in that? Well nothing if you know what you are doing with PD w staff.
But leaders need to get this right.
If you do you will eliminate bad practice, you will see creative use of iPads/apps, you will encourage courage and celebrate mistakes.
You will see the very very important: devices as powerful tools for learning, that is all, Finally.

apologies for the disconnected blog, its a little random tonight. Hope u all had a good anzac day.
More when the brain rolls into 2nd gear.

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