Day 2: Write about one piece of technology that you would like to try this year, and why. You might also write about what you’re hoping to see out of this edtech integration.
In the past I have experimented with using Twitter to tweet as characters in Shakespeare’s Macbeth and using Storify to analyze those character tweets. I’ve used blogs for my Film Studies class. The students wrote about the films they watched outside of class. And I’ve just started to use Twitter as a general broadcast method to disseminate handouts, reminders, and to keep the parents up-to-date with what is going on in class.
But a new technology? Well, I’m getting 10 iPads (next week or so they say), so I’ll use that for this particular challenge. 10 iPads in a classroom where my largest classes are 27. Hmm. There are several issues right away that I can see.
iPads are designed for 1:1 or single users only. Passing them from student to student and class to class presents some problems. This is especially clear when whatever task we are working on is not completed in a single class period.
-Anything saved to the camera roll is available to all who use the device.
-Even if using a web or app based method of working on a project(Google Slides and Drive, Adobe Voice, Dropbox, etc.) it is critical to log out of all programs before leaving class or the next student will have access.
-iPads were originally designed for consumption not creation. Apple and other 3rd party app makers have done well to create apps that let users “create,” but many of the apps are quite limited. Google’s recently introduced Slides, for example, only allows the user to add text. No images, no videos, no audio… nada.
Another issue is physical security. While it is nice that the iPads will be in my room all day, I do worry that they are not going to be secure. My room is right next to the Large Group Instruction (LGI) room, so it is often used outside the school day and almost always without my knowledge. I have been told that I should expect the iPads to just appear one day. The only resource will be their power cords and a power strip. So how do I keep the iPads from “going for a walk”? Will I have to have them on my desk?
Every technology has advantages and shortcomings. The key is working within those confines to engage the students, push them to higher-order thinking, and get good work out of them… all without making us want to throw them across the room or shoot holes in them out of frustration.