There’s a bottom line in teaching – the things we must absolutely teach, no matter what. I’m questioning whether digital literacies should be part of it.
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In August, at least 1,000 students in 10 other primary schools in the Netherlands will get iPads, in a teaching model developed by a foundation called O4NT, which is a Dutch acronym for “Education for a New Era.” (While De Windhoek uses iPads, it is not part of O4NT.)
(...) O4NT wants to change the way schools work, not only through technology, but also by rethinking the very basics of how brick and mortar buildings are used, and how class hours and academic years are scheduled and structured. The model’s creators believe that a more flexible system is needed, particularly to alleviate pressure on working parents.
With more than a million iPads in schools, teachers and students are enthusiastic about the technology, but tablet use in classroom brings about new problems.
Problem #1 Not enough dollars to purchase content
Problem #2 Input ( entering responses in to a tablet can be awkward.)
Problem #3 Monitoring use (some educators are worried about how to handle a classroom full of independent learners.)
Other problems expressed buy educators
With more than half of those surveyed selecting “no budget” as their biggest complaint about using tablets in the classroom, educators noted other issues as well, though in much smaller percentages:17% of respondents answered: Don’t know how to evaluate or guide kids in their tablet use16% answered: Don’t understand how applications integrate into my lesson plans8% answered: Don’t know how to get applications/e-books7% answered: Applications/e-books aren’t educational enough7%: The technology is confusing22% filled in the “other” form with comments, mostly about monitoring tablet use.
A smart list with problem #1 being a recurring problem in many countries (e.g. France)... schools often get a budget to buy the hardware but don't get any money left for content!!
Edtech developers typically try to solve what they believe are the pain points that exist in schools. But as startup gurus such as Steve Blankrecommend, entrepreneurs need to be in close contact with their customers or they risk building on assumptions that are out of sync with reality
(...) Sue Krause, a technology teacher and coordinator at Blaine Elementary in Chicago Public Schools, and who spent 12 years as a software and web developer, expressed concerns whenever she heard entrepreneurs describe their products as “intuitive.” She wished, for instance, that NoRedInk had user documentation. “When I asked for user documentation, [the vendor] said, ‘Oh, it’s so intuitive.’ I can tell you that nothing is that intuitive when a teacher is not that tech savvy,” Krause noted. Similarly, with InstaGrok, she found “the content was fantastic and the ability to do research was great, but right now, working with it is extremely cumbersome.”(...) These comments underscore the tricky balance between listening to feedback and acceding to feature requests, something that Cogan-Drew knows all too well. Not too long ago, he was on the buyer’s side of the table, as director of digital learning at Achievement First Public Charter Schools. “I gave 100 amazing ideas to [entrepreneurs about products] that were not adopted,” he recalls. “I may have been frustrated, like ‘Hey, why didn’t you use that?’...It’s hard, you get 100 ideas a day and you get a lot of voices telling you which way to turn.” Now, as a vendor, he urged teachers to cut developers a bit more slack. “It’s about focus: while we’re definitely listening, we can’t pivot as quickly as you may think. We have to set long-term priorities.”
iPad as Innovation
(...) What about when support, access and mobility allow for cross-grade collaboration? Teachers in two Chicago Public Schools -- Autumn Laidler,Kristin Zeimke, and Ben Kovacs -- developed a cross-school, cross-grade-level project where students both learned and taught each other.