Teachers rethinking one-to-one computing in middle school education. iPad in lieu of Windows Tablet PC is the current platform focus. (Also, supplementing the program with classroom sets of Chromebooks was a consideration now on hold for our first year.)
The sample size is small, but the methodology on this research project seems good. The results showed no significant difference in the typing speed of grade 3 to 5 students between using a computer keyboard and an iPad virtual keyboard.
"Patrick Larkin, Assistant Superintendent for Learning, Burlington Public School District, Burlington, Ma, recalls a question someone posed to him: “Is the tablet an education solution, or an education problem?” His answer, and common sense approach to changing the school and learning environment is a professional development lesson for all. Enjoy my interview with Patrick Larkin, and learn why he’s become one of the most respected tablet education voices today—and for the future."
I like Patrick's statement that you can have an effective teacher with our without technology. I particularly agree that while you may get some positive changes by just dropping technology into the hands of a motivated teacher, the real gains require support for teachers that include professional development and COLLABORATIVE EXPERIENCES where teachers can share ideas and practices with peers. Patrick is a very online-connected educator from what I've seen from him and about him in the past so I'm not surprised he advocates a culture of of professional sharing. Of course, I suspect those experiences have assisted his professional success and helped him assist others as an administrator so they shouldn't just be discounted as coming from some guy who likes to do things online.
Check out just how much of an influence studies show iPads in the classroom are having on education.
Bill Campbell's insight:
I haven't read through all the studies but the summaries show a couple measured perception of iPads value while others reported higher standardized test scores. It would be intersting to tease out how much of the benfit reported is due to each student having a computing devices versus each student actually having a particluar product -- the Apple iPad.
This is a 45 minute recording of a panel of three middle-school teachers who use iPads in the classroom. One teacher is using a shared cart and the other two teach students who individually have an iPad to use and take home. Panelist responded to the following moderator questions:
1) How has the iPad changed your classroom? (4:36)
2) How d you handle distractions in your clasroom? (10:27)
3) What advice would you give a teacher starting out using the iPad in the classroom? (17:17)
While we’ve witnessed many effective approaches to incorporating iPads successfully in the classroom, we’re struck by the common mistakes many schools are making with iPads, mistakes that are in some cases crippling the success of these initiatives.
Collection of resources realted to iPads in K12 education curated by Kathy Schrock. There are lots of lists of suggested apps generated by multiple schools. if you have some time to spend just browsing, this seems a good place to start.
I like the idea of using a Google a Day to get students minds warmed up. It is a lot like the mind challenge that is displayed before our weekly middle-school meeting. Having a few wireless keyboards available instead of trying to make sure everyone as one also seems like an idea with merit. The onscreen keyboard is better than I expected so I would guess most students will only want a regualr keyboard when writing a lot.
Four things I agree teachers should do to help even a classroom full of "digital natives", which is a term I'm not fond of because some people use it as a way to excuse not teaching kids when they use technology:
give students high-quality examples, provide students with the necessary thinking tools teach them how to learn socially and share, and introduce them to new apps for learning.
The great Evernote experiment is underway in the UK. Adam Webster details how he went all-digital with the help of iPads and Evernote.
Bill Campbell's insight:
This teacher's students are using iPads from a classroom set instead of any physical materials. Evernote's ability to make data accessible from multiple platforms is key here. If the students kept the iPad then maybe a different app with better markup (e.g. Notability) might work well.
Subtext is one of the iPad Apps I'm most excited about with regard to the affordances possible via iPads used by students in a 1 to 1 setting. This blog post talks about how to create custom docs for use with Subtext.