I thought I’d have a go at summarizing all I’d been looking at over the least 12 months. So here’s a poster for you.
One good use of student iPads is to appreciate that all creative output that comes from the device can feed directly from real-world stories, delivered by the various news apps. There should be one of any day’s events, stories or features that connects to a learning objective in any subject area.
The iPad can be used to produce media products or documents that cover how the story connects with the learning objectives in question. Appropriate news apps for your country or even local area can be used by the students to make learning more real and tangible.
Connect the learning to the story. It’s just a matter of asking the right question.
How does the story:
These are just some examples (from the top of my head) but given that the news apps divide stories and features into categories, teachers should always be able to find something appropriate and design decent projects from it. It doesn’t have to be that exact day. Anything from the last week will still feature in the apps and offer a range of opportunities. Connecting topics to real-world stories often humanises the context and engages students through an emotive connection. Studying weather patterns is one thing but connecting it to the effects of 8 million people loosing power after hurricane Sandy is quite a lot more powerful, especially if you demand solutions to their problems!
This approach to learning does go hand-in-hand with project-based learning and does not fit well with the more common approach of one-size-fits-all topic by topic approach (fixed curriculum factory schooling – see right). This is precisely why I encourage it. 21st Century learning, if it is to be engaging and successful (long-term) must appear relevant in today’s world. Separate from what school offers, information is delivered to students too easily and quickly for schools not to connect it to bigger learning objectives and discuss it’s meaning and impact.
Technical issue 1: The news apps don’t often allow for the saving of images or the highlighting of text.
Solution: Use the 2-button (Home+off) screenshot to grab content from the screen and crop using the photos app. These can then be entered into any iMovie project / keynote or in fact any app.
Solution 2: Many allow sharing through email. This will give you the website link and you can grab content using Safari with the normal copy-paste.
Remember copyright and kids should attribute their sources when using the material.
Technical issue 2: Which apps?
To save me a lot of time, here’s a good list but I would add 4 things:
Technical / teaching benefit: Safe surfing
Using the News Apps gives you a simple internet filter and is safer for younger students over general internet surfing
Make want to teach relevant to today’s world because it is and always will be. Humans will always be human and so everything you want to teach still has relevance even if it’s to discuss the stark difference between ‘then’ and now. Make the students think and make connections, hopefully while tackling problems that have a real purpose.
The iPad empowers students to create products within any subject context, physical space and even on the move. This is why the iPad is so important in transforming education into a genuine learning experience, not a knowledge absorption space. This well known Ken Robinson video has, for a while, indicated the importance of creative process in learning. Creating is important because during the process of creating something new, a student is:
Under these four circumstances, you create truly life-long learners, who are intrinsically motivated by their own demands and ideas.
(picture via @gcouros)
Many teachers do not see creative process as part of their subject. The factory based education system used throughout the 20th century, isolated subjects as disconnected silos of information and creativity was removed from most of these study areas and confined specifically to the arts subjects only. This is not how the real world operates and creative thoughts and processes are demanded in most, if not all industries. All subject areas within schools (while those areas still exist), must harness both the students’ genuine will to create and the iPads power to enable this in so many forms and under so many circumstances.
What exactly does grading do for a student? It gives them a record of how they compare with their classmates or even national year-group. What does this positioning mean? … nothing! The minute you leave school you will be working and competing with different groups of people of various ages and your grade comparison becomes meaningless immediately. Yes, you looked amazing in your school when up against your fellow students performing standardised tests, but now you’re suddenly struggling against people from different backgrounds and may even look quiet incompetent.
Students also become distracted from their learning when focusing purely on their grade comparison with their friends. This removes any interest in learning for the sake of bettering oneself and even engagement with the objective of the tasks. Students take shortcuts and do anything that would increase the grade regardless of the impact it might have on truly understanding concepts or not. Students also find it very difficult, if they can do it at all, to articulate what an A or a B means. The grades themselves are arbitrary and mean nothing in terms of personal achievement and only make the lower grade achievers give up on learning anything.
This UK BBC documentary, The Classroom Experiment, covered many common traditional teaching habits that actually do harm rather than good in education, including grades:
An increasing number of educators are agreeing that:
The iPad is both a personal creative device and a great tool for collaboration and documenting discussion. This is the basis on why and roughly how schools should push forward with 1-to-1 iPad integration.
It is common for outsiders (like me) to picture America as:
If true, all 3 ‘generalizations’ would have an extremely detrimental effect on introducing iPads in schools. Below is a personal view of how these 3 factors will impact on the success of iPads in transforming American education.
As a simple starting point, american schools must dismantle the traditional classroom layout which isolates the students as mere educational factory products and places the teacher at the centre of all learning. This is simply not the way the world operates anymore.
In this second video, Ruben Puentedura explains his research into why particular technologies are successful (even over 200,000 years). In it, he shows that any technology will be successful long term, if it allows:
C) Visualising ideas
D) Story Telling and
Are you thinking, what I’m thinking? Yes, that’s exactly what the iPad brings to learning and why it will be successful in schools. The last 3 of those 5 are all about visualising ideas and immersing oneself in a concept using multiple senses. This is not only where extra engagement comes from but also true understanding (never forgetting).
It’s important that students visualise their understandings, both for their own development but to also aide their peers and gain a sense that what they are doing is for the better of others. It is this that develops real drive to learn, it does not just add ‘play’ to the learning environment.
Many Apps to choose from but here’s two:
ANIMATION CREATOR HD ($4) : This app offers a great new way for students to prove understanding in an entertaining way that other students will in-turn learn from. Easy frame by frame animation that some student really like to beaver away at at the back of a classroom. I’ve see some stunning examples!
iMotionHD Stop-Frame animation Filming with “Auto-wait” shoot setting.
This is the most instant fun I’ve had with my iPad in 2 years! It’s a free app and really simple to use. You set the number of seconds gap between photos and then make slight movements of the objects in front of the iPad’s camera to create instant animations. It also has a manual mode for taking the frame shots one-at-a-time. It is simply brilliant! It could be used to comically or otherwise cover any topic and show you understand the process (great for Science) or story so you should be able to use this in any subject!
Here is an excellent example from the TED Ed site, where a normal teacher’s lesson is given to a professional Animator. The result is stunning. This professional connection might change education but your own classroom versions will be of equal importance.
I feel a major part of the Scientific process is the final depiction of the process / concept / new understanding and this requires an understanding of how people think visually. The use of colour & shape, the position of key objects within a frame at any one moment, the direction of cameras & direction of film sequence determine whether a scientific idea is ever understood and passed around the world. This makes learning the visual arts as important for science students as for any. It is a commonly neglected part of the scientific industry and certainly in Science Education. iPads in the classroom can start to readdress this imbalance.
Have you ever been to the cinema to watch a kids movie? A multi-million dollar Hollywood budget is not enough to keep every eye on the screen! So why would I bother to use this form of delivery with 30 teenagers? If they all need to see something then like “real” people do in the “real” world, I issue the link and they watch in their own time. Independent learners find it frustrating to be told to stop their schedule for something. Dropbox sharing and Twitter/Facebook Groups have replaced the need for me to project anything except, ironically Hollywood Film clips (copyright) but many can be found on Youtube and your school system might stream video files to the mobile devices…maybe? I don’t use film clips.
Homework is proven to damage family life but really there’s no such thing for mobile learners who manage their own work schedule. My results have been much better and of higher quality since I offered “Flexitime” to all my students. Learning objectives are set and a timeframe issued, end of story. Students enjoy the freedom and feel far more obligation to get the work done. It is now after all their work, not mine.
One-size-fits-all content delivery allows for no creative thought and makes no sense in a mobile world where information is everywhere, anytime. Worksheets as a control mechanism also only made sense in the factory model of education in the 20th century. If the content of 6 worksheets can be covered in a 3 minute documentary, directed and written by the students then…worksheets…really?
RestrictIng and not conducive to either creative or collaborative thought and process so….no textbooks. All school material is available online, so no need for them either.
Online, It’s also often more recent, relevant and entertaining too.
Talking content or concept to a whole class never includes or engages everyone in the room regardless of class age, intellect of character so ….no. All content delivery done through Flipped classroom setup to ensure 24/7 availability. I already have students watching lesson videos at midnight because…”that’s the way I roll, sir!” A discussion should be meaningful and to be so, needs to be with a small groups or one-to-one only. Flipping the classroom immediately gives the teacher and student a more meaningful learning environment.
I have discussed these ideas with colleagues and often when they try to argue, for example, that class discussion can work, we do eventually have to agree that there’s always one not listening and to say that most benefit is just not good enough. We are not employed to teach “most” of the students. In general, the overall idea that because we were bored and controlled at school, then current young people will be ok just isn’t going to work. Lets all start to learn and collaborate in the ‘real’ world we actually live in.
“Drive” is a book about motivation.This is a book for anyone who has charge of anyone else. leaders, teachers, sports coaches & parents all need to read this book. It discusses how we are starting a 3rd era in understanding motivation:
Motivation 1.0 (Primal)
Motivation 2.0 (External)
Civilisation’s introduction of “Carrot & Stick”
(Post-Caveman to ‘recently’)
Used in 20th Century schools
Motivation 3.0 (Intrinsic)
Autonomy, Mastery & Purpose = Genuine Drive
Used in 21st Century schools
It divides human activities into 2 types.
Type 1. Algorithmic. mundane, fixed tasks, “Get from A to B” (e.g. Paint Fence)
Type 2. Creative, heuristic, self-directed tasks (Design a new car / solve a problem the best way)
20th Century learning / Type 1 task / Motivation 2.0
20th Century teaching & learning generally hands out Type 1 tasks, e.g. All students do this worksheet / sum / diagram.
20th Century “Carrot and Stick” motivation techniques can work with these tasks as the result of the task is fixed and the goal of earning the carrot narrows the focus and diminishes creative thought but this suits a fixed aim.
21st Century learning / Type 2 task / Motivation 3.0
21st Century teaching & learning tries to create caring, creative, independently driven but collaborative students and in doing so generally hands out Type 2 tasks. Type 2 tasks are not susceptible to Carrot & Stick motivation techniques as the promised carrots’ negative effect on the creative thought and collaborative process means that students narrow their approach and will start short-cutting, even cheating to achieve any fixed aim and the desire to do the best job is replaced by the desire to obtain the carrot.
Teachers can learn a lot from the idea that for 100 years, schools have been run on the principles of Motivation 2.0. The idea that the students will not want to do the work and so “Carrots and Sticks” are used to encourage good and discourage bad behaviour. But Education’s move towards 21st Century learning is an indication of our new understanding that Motivation 3.0 principles mean that students will want to work if they have 1. Ownership (It’s their education not the teacher’s); 2. Progress (I have opportunity to master this) and 3. Context (There is a real-world application for this). This autonomy and thus motivation is increased massively by students having iPads!
The various apps offer such a wide variety of possible processes when solving a problem, creating a product or accessing information when and wherever they offer students an environment where they own their process and will be more intrinsically motivated to do the best they can on any task.