Just found this post in my DRAFTS and thought I should publish it. I’d love to have some opinions and ideas regarding the questions at the end of the post.
Yesterday, August 31, our school had our summer Pro. D. Day with our special guest George Couros (@gcouros on Twitter). We were very excited to have the opportunity to have George come to our school to spread his passion toward learning and education to all our educators.
If you have never worked with George in person, let me tell you, he’s great because he pushes the limits, makes people uncomfortable, and makes them think – about the hear and now and the future. He pushes you to think about the WHY. He didn’t limit his pushing to anyone, in particular. He went after everyone – including me (for which I am grateful).
You see, I am pretty new in this journey. Yes, even though I am going into my 18th year as a teacher, I am still rather new with a lot of what is happening in education today. Don’t get me wrong, technology, communication, and finding news ways to do things have always been a big part of me as an educator. When I taught grade 1 10 years ago, I had three different websites – a Poetry Site, an Educational Links site, and a classroom site.
Then, I had kids and went on to be an administrator and things shifted a bit. Come to think of it, that is when things shouldn’t have shifted. It was then that my schools, teachers, students, parents, and my own children needed me most to continue on my journey.
So, here I am with a year and a few months under my belt as a connected educator. Have I made a difference in my own learning and the learning of others? Absolutely. Do I have a long way to go? Certainly. That’s what is so great about it though, there is so much to learn, all the time. The knowledge out there is outstanding.
Okay, back to yesterday with George.
Yes, he pushed my thinking. He made me continue to go back to my why. His questions made me
– iPads – signing out of them
– George suggested teachers (Grade groups) come up with a proposal for what they were going to do with the ipads – a project. He told us about his division having loaner iPads (ours does to, but we do it differently) that teachers can sign out for 6 weeks. The iPads are cleaned off. The teachers decide what they need for their time with the iPads. This must be a project-based activity with the students. The first week is just for “playing with ” and exploring the devices. For the next 4 weeks, the students work on their project(s). The last week is for getting the work off of the iPads (this can be quite a chore sometimes). Each teacher is required to document their learning – one blogpost each week.
This sounds great, but I am conflicted.
What about having all teachers/students have the opportunity to use and work with the devices? There will only be a limited number of teachers who will be able to use them if the devices are booked out for 6 weeks by one teacher or grade group.
Is that a problem?
According to George, it isn’t. Those who want to use them, will put in a proposal or a plan and then will use them with a purpose. They will document their learning for everyone else’s benefit – for the school, the district, and the world. Talk about making learning visible!
But, I continue to go back to equal opportunity.
What I also continue to think about is just because a class may not get a chance to use the “iPads” throughout the year, it doesn’t mean they can’t do innovative learning. We have to continue to remember it is not about the device, it is about the learning. Innovative teaching and learning can occur without any iPads.
But, even with that considered, we still have the problem of our iPads.
So, I’d like to put it out there for everyone….
With limited technology, how does your school decide how the technology is distributed or signed out?
Do your teachers have any accountability to demonstrate what their students have used the iPads to do?
When considering to buy more technology – laptops or iPads, would you ensure teachers have personal devices first before purchasing devices for student use?
Why or why not?
As you can see, I am still struggling with some of what George pushed me on. That is a good thing though. It is important to push one’s thinking. That’s what it is all about, afterall, It’s All About Learning!