The next talk I attended was “iPads as a Catalyst for Creating a Culture of Inquiry & Collaboration” by Jenni Swanson-Voorhees and her team (Denise Coffin, Eve Eaton, and Lesley Young) at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. This talk was less about nuts and bolts and more of a discussion of integrating iPads into the classroom and exploring the question: “What does great learning look like with an iPad?”
What they determined is that in the classroom, the Ipad is a wonderful tool for collaboration across multiple modalities: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.
It is also an excellent tool for creativity, not simply productivity. It allows educators to see how their students think. It allows students to choose multiple methods of presentation. It also encourages risk-taking and trying new technology. The iPad environment “feels safe” as opposed to netbooks and desktop computers. Not only are the products more creative, but the process is as well.
The iPad allows students to share ideas and take control of their own learning. It fosters deep conversations about problem solving and inter-dependence.
- So what does great teaching with the iPad involve?
Again here, the implementation of the iPad follows the path outlined by Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura’s SAMR model.
The easiest and most comfortable place to start is the substitution phase, which can serve as a launching board for more advanced use.
Augmentation is often the next step after students and faculty feel more comfortable with the tools and start to see how they can be employed.
To go to the higher levels, sometimes you need to push and provide tools for educators and students. This is when it becomes ‘working outside the box.’ At the higher levels, collaboration and peer assistance become more important.
Another great tool application of the iPad as educators is to use it as an assessment tool – you can keep a log of daily work, student projects, and self-constructed assessments. These educators primarily use Evernote as their tool for assessment and organization. It’s an excellent and highly flexible tool in the education arena.
- So when is the iPad the right tool?
What is the tool that makes the most sense to help students learn and develop skills? These educators determined that the iPad was the most engaging tool for their students. You define the objectives and then determine the tool. Additionally, tool use is not exclusive. You can put down the iPad and pull out another tool if needed. “Let pedagogy lead, iPads follow.”