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Someday/Monday: Creating with iPads

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Beth Holland and I have a piece up at KQED Mindshift this week as part of our Someday/Monday series about teaching and learning with iPads. The Someday/Monday duality captures a tension in our work as teacher educators: we want teachers to be stretching themselves and imagining ways that technology can help them make powerful changes in their classroom practice, but at the same time we don't want to overwhelm them. We want to also provide advice that they can put to work right away on Monday. This piece is third of a four part series related to teaching with iPads, moving from consumption to curation and now to creation.

Beth and I argue that the iPad shouldn't be a replacement for textbooks and notebooks, but a mobile, flexible multimedia creation device that students use to craft performances of understanding. Here's a snippet:

In the best iPad classrooms, students are constantly making things.

A big part of what they are doing is documenting their learning. At the EdTechTeacher iPad Summit in Atlanta, Jennie Magiera showed a video of a math student working through a problem on a screencasting app, talking aloud, showing and recording his work. I observed a biochemistry lab class at Deerfield Academy where students had iPads, and they used them throughout class to take pictures and video recordings of the lab experiments, which later became key parts of their reports and presentations. In helping students learn to make inferences from poetry, Kristin Ziemke has her first graders draw their mental images from poems that she reads. When I visited the Hillbrook School in northern California, I tried to visit a history class, but I was a few minutes too late. Just after the period started, students in period costumes dispersed across the campus, recording short reenactments.

These rich examples of documentation evoke ideas from Project Zero's Making Learning Visible and Visible Thinking programs. When students and teachers take the time to document their learning and create tangible performances, when they create objects-to-think-with, they deepen their understanding of material, and perhaps more importantly, create tools to spark metacognitive thinking about thinking. Tablets have shortcomings in creating certain kinds of learning objects (the iPad in particular is a very weak platform for learning coding and programming), but with the combination of camera, microphone, touchpad interface, and large viewing surface, tablets are terrific tools for creating a running record of student learning and activity.


You can read the rest of the piece over at KQED MindShift.

For regular updates, follow me on Twitter at @bjfr and for my publications, C.V., and online portfolio, visit EdTechResearcher.

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