Monday, May 30, 2011

Power of Teachers with iPads to Transform Teaching and Learning

 Back in 2001, Ted McCain and Ian Jukes said this about technology in general:
"We need to rethink what is really important in the use of technology. Amazingly, it is not the technology but the people who use it and their mind-sets that are the critical determining factors."
One thing I notice immediately in this classroom is the emphasis on what students are doing with the iPads, and not the iPads themselves. As McCain and Jukes pointed out, the technology itself isn't amazing, its the users and the mindset they have about its use that is more important.

The students in Larry Mitchell's class are not just using iPads. Any teacher can get kids to do that. What's more important are the high-level 21st century tasks of communicating, creating, and collaborating using the iPads that is our goal as 21st century educators. These students are demonstrating the mindsets of technology users to tackle educational tasks.

Perhaps the real challenge we have as administrators is supporting and fostering classrooms just like these. It is a whole new way of learning.

Observations on Transforming Classrooms with Mobile Devices

  • The teacher in this video is knowledgeable about what the iPad can and cannot do. It is more than obvious in the video that the teacher is a knowledgeable user of the device too. He doesn't just hand it to them and tell them to go to it. He facilitates the learning they are doing with the devices.
  • Use of the iPad in this classroom is not an add-on; it is an integral part of what students are being asked to do educationally. The iPad is not a toy passed out to students when they've been good. They are using it as a 21st century tool should be used: solving real problems, engaging and creating, and innovating.
  • Learning in this classroom is truly individualized. Students are engaged in custom learning tasks that fit their needs and interests.

Thanks again @skipvia for Tweeting this link to me.


  1. Rick Fletcher @TRFletcherJune 1, 2011 at 3:03 PM

    I'm a little stunned by this post. I am completely lost - what is specific to the use of iPad here? From the commentary it sounds like a majority of work is writing on pdf files - is this really a revolutionary change - it's really the electronic version of mimeographed worksheets, right? And let's face it, learning to communicate using the iPad's keyboard is probably counterproductive. But bottom line, I don't see a "transformation" here caused by use of iPad. Everything I see could have been done on a notepad 5 years ago.
    I'm not criticizing the curriculum. It looks to me like learning is occurring. But the video and blog comes across as a commercial for iPad. So, is this sponsored in any way? Ethics says disclosure is required. Thanks.

  2. Let me address your last worry first. No, I get nothing from Apple for blogging about the iPad. I would also I acknowledge seeing the students using PDFs for in class work assignments in the video, and I agree that's really not taking full advantage of the device. But I also saw and heard students talking about their projects using Keynote and other applications on the iPad. That is were I felt there was a level of transformation in what was happening in this classroom. They also mentioned blogging from the iPad as well. Our school is a project-based learning school, and perhaps that's why I saw more promise in what was happening that you did. One thing is clear though,we saw different things and that's fine. The title could just as well have said "Tablet PC" but unfortunately, none of the other tablet products I've looked at are there yet. Thanks for the comment.