Brilliant Integration of the iPad

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disclosure: I am the Director of Educational Technology at Mulgrave.

This fall Mulgrave School in Vancouver, Canada, handed iPads to all the Grade 3 classes. Three weeks into the academic program and lead teachers on the project, Melanie Cannon and Shauna Ullman throw down one of the best uses of the iPad I’ve seen yet. Have a look at this Home Reading Clips post where Cannon exlpains how she has her students record themselves reading aloud–at home.:

This is brilliant work. I keep coming up with more reasons why I love this project:

  • The students are working in the safest of places–home (check out the clip with the student reading in his pajamas) so there’s no performance anxiety to mask real student ability. Indeed, Cannon and Ullman report a significant jump in overall engagement and intellectual risk-taking amongst the students after the introduction of the iPad.
  • The students are in control–they can shoot as many takes as they like and submit their best work.
  • They own their content and will be able to look back over their work whenever they like.
  • In a Digital-Learning-Farm-ish move, the students do the the heavy lifting, essentially doing their own record keeping. I think this will build ownership.
  • The teachers get a comprehensive video record of student development over the year which, as Cannon points out, will be far more valuable than a set of hurried notes take while the student is reading.
  • The activity makes classroom learning transparent to families.
  • The whole thing is so light; there’s nothing complciated here. Even a Grade 3 kid can do it!
  • It is teacher-generated, not committee- or department- or admin-generated. I think the best way to develop best practices in education is for admin and IT to creat a fertile ground for creativity and then give the teachers the opportunity–and responsibility–to innovate.

Cannon (@West_Coastal) and Ullman (@ShaunaUllman) and their students and families are on fire here. Their blogs–raw and honest–are worth following.

2 Simple Ways to Measure the Success of Your School Technology Program

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The pencil was, in its day, a disruptive technology. When the little pink eraser on the end was introduced it had educators throwing up their hands. Now, they said, no one will think before they write. The pencil is also an incredibly sophisticated tool. It took more than a century to perfect–Thoreau’s family was a player in the pencil wars of the early 19th century.

Yet, no one notices pencils anymore. They are a great example of the successful integration of technology in education. (By the way, no one I know considers correlating pencils to test scores as they did in this misplaced critique in the New York Times.) The marks of this success are ubiquity and invisibility.

A quick check on theses two scales let’s me easily gauge the success of any school’s technology program, however sophisticated the devices or applications they roll out.

cross-posted from my blog, A Stick in the Sand

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