Sunday, January 27, 2013

Happy Birthday iPad!

Do you remember January 27, 2010? I do. The famous keynote when Jobs announced the iPad. I felt like it was the device that schools had been waiting for. It was not a cheap netbook. Or a heavy, clunky tablet computer. It was an honest-to-God "magical" and "revolutionary" device. 

It is incredible to me when I think how much this device has afforded us in teaching and learning. The iPad breaks down barriers that blocked technophobe teachers from truly integrating tech into their classrooms. There is something so friendly about the iPad. The touch capabilities build an intimate relationship between the user and the device. Somehow, a lot of the fear is taken away. I have seen teachers pick up this device and with little instruction, begin using it right away as opposed to the introduction of a laptop. 

Children take to it right away. They seem to have a natural understanding of navigation and gestures. iPads have become so commonplace today that I think we forget what it was like pre-iPad. The ease, portability, speed, freedom and almost unlimited potential of this device are outstanding. Jobs was right, the iPad is magical and revolutionary. It has and will continue to shape teaching, learning, publishing, creating, and communication in ways we cannot even fathom yet.

Now, teachers send photos or videos home every day to parents. Students of all ages create stories, individually or collaboratively, with ease and share them with each other, parents or around the world. Whether it's Book Creator, iMovie, Puppet Pals or any of the dozens of apps available, our students and teachers are creating and stretching beyond the boundaries of their classrooms. 

As our school begins to weigh the best way to address the digital book market, it is incredibly exciting to see how books are developing in ways we never considered to address all types of learners. Accessibility is only part of the wonderful developments that are available now. Teachers have the ability to create their own textbooks, thanks to iBooks Authoring tool. The rich media embedded in books brings learning to life in ways that I thought were only possible in futuristic movies. The future is here now and it is a very exciting one. Thanks, Steve. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Innovation day is Coming!

February 15th our campus will experience something new. While we have had PD days where Teachers teach Teachers, this year our focus will be completely on sharing best technological best practices. We are calling it Innovation Day after finishing our school wide read, Tony Wagner's book,  Creating Innovators. We are kicking off the day with the super wonderful Silvia Tolisano, aka @langwitches, as our keynote speaker and then breaking into our smaller presentation sessions. Many faculty have already signed up to present with topics ranging from Pinterest to iMovie to Voice Thread to iPhone photography. There are quite a few sessions on digital storytelling and blogging and even a session on musical technology. I love seeing the list grow each day. I love it even more when it is about something I haven't even heard about. 

I am incredibly proud of our faculty who are willing to take a risk and as Silvia likes to say, "amplify" their learning. They rock. Really. Boy, I better get busy and figure out what I'm going to present!