Saturday, April 10, 2010

Views on the iPad

First let me say that I share custody of my iPad with my wife so it doesn't travel everywhere with me although that is becoming more of a difficult decision as I use it more. Still not sure I can rationalize spending more of my money on a second one in one household.

As far as a consumption device, I think I would trade in my computer today. The battery life is amazing actually and the graphics and videos are simply "sick" as a student explained when seeing it. If all I needed to do was surf the web, check email, run my calendar, watch videos, blog and listen to music, it would be my only device. However, the things that I have to do for the rest of my job, it is not designed to do which is totally understandable I guess.

Now as far as a classroom tool, I think it will begin the development of a very good 1:1 solution that will become available in 2 years whether it is from Apple or another company. These ease of use, size, weight and clarity are all there. I could see them being a great solution for @christianlong's TedxProject since it is centered around watching Ted videos (amazing on the iPad), researching information from the Internet (very slick and fast on the iPad) and blogging (doing now easily on the iPad). However, it still does not have the capability of operating a lot of the web 2.0 tools yet (or maybe it does and I just haven't figured out how to do it). For example, I cannot edit a google doc although I can view it. I cannot figure out how to edit a wiki even though it seems like it wants to let me. If you could even just solve those two issues, I may push to get them in the hands of my students. Then I would use the computer labs for the video editing and other more substantial tools that students need to be utilizing.

I'm still more fascinated in how this device will change how we teach. I'm convinced it will change the publishing industry and thus how the majority of people distributed their writing to the world. It will make multimedia and hyperlink writing even more important and in my opinion push the 'tipping point'.

Well those are one man's opinion of the iPad in education to toss into the sea of those much more intelligent than I so take it for what it's worth.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Progress Slowly Happening

I thought I would share the successes happening at school and how I think as minor as they may appear on the surface that they are hopefully a sign of a more substantial change.

There seems to be a lot of discussion going on about ways to extend the classroom. A third grade classroom is going to do their upcoming biomes project as a wiki. I sat and watched 4th graders do PowerPoint presentations and even though it was the definitive death by.. I came away impressed with their presence and excited to talk to the teacher about how we can make the presentations better. They had the choice to do it digitally or old school poster style and 90% were going digital. Now just to teach them how to do it well. I definitely need to spend more time in Lower School classrooms.

Our Middle School is getting in the act as well. An English teacher was going to make photocopies of their poetry unit and send it home as a book but she came to me and asked how we could do it digitally. Now she will be using StoryJumper to create an online compilation and simply send the link home. Our head has been playing with podcasting via iPadio and will hopefully be creating weekly preview/reviews in the future.

In Upper School we have a collaborative Ning all in Spanish with Lovett in Atlanta, the TedxProject as well a new teacher trying blogging in Economics. Our choir teacher is posting podcasts from their trip to sing at Carnegie Hall.

With the new wireless going in and the website revamp on pace for a June release, the potential is steadily increasing. The best part is the conversations that are organically taking place around school about better and more innovative teaching. While none of the things are necessarily huge by themselves the collective feeling is moving towards a different feeling which seems very positive. Hopefully the upcoming SummerSpark will only enhance and ignite more conversation.