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The Lack of iPad and Android at #ASCD12

March 25, 2012 Leave a comment

iPad has been with us for two years, and some great Android tablets have been around for at least half that time. Over a hundred million people are using these devices to interact with others, consume content, create and share understandings. They are everywhere at the conference – I’m sure there are hundreds, if not a thousand, tablets in teachers hands at #ASCD12. Yet when you look through the session book, they are near-completely absent.

I’m not trying to rag on the organizers of ASCD12 in any way – In fact I think they’ve done a fabulous job as usual. ASCD is my favourite conference, and I’ve been to many many others (I’m including my own conference, a ~400 delegate science conference). I’m really just making an observation of the sessions that were proposed.

This lack of tablets saddens me, because I’ve seen first hand how radically different they are than using desktops, laptops, or netbooks in the classroom. I’ve taught in the extremes – with a whiteboard marker and a textbook as my main resources, and a science class in a computer lab with web2.0 and social media heavily embedded. Technology (albeit, not on its own), opens so many doors. I’ve been a tech leader in my district for 3 years. This past year I’ve spent my time supporting students and teachers with iPads more than anything else. I confidently say, no other piece of technology in the past few years – no website, no computer, no cell phone – has caused as much genuine excitement and tangible positive influence on learning and teaching.

I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t know if anyone can be an expert teacher with a device that has only existed for a few years, but I’ve watched students speak words no one knew they had. I’ve seen kids write stories that touch the heart. And I’ve read e-mails from teachers who work late into the evening that simply couldn’t get motivated in the past. The iPad isn’t the answer. But it is the catalyst. And I just want to meet like-minded people who are way out on the edge with me on this one.

If you’re out there at #ascd12 and around on Monday, I’d love to hear your story

I’m presenting on the topic of iPads and student diversity at 8am in room 204c Monday Morning at #ASCD12. Stop in or come by after if you have an experience to share – I want to hear it.

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How Social Media Can Develop 21st Century Skills

March 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Saturday from 5:15 pm – 6:15 pm, Moscone Centre, Room 113

Bring Your Laptops!

In a few more than 24 hours, I will be presenting at the 2011 ASCD Annual Conference with my colleague, Susana Gerndt. The title of the session is “Written Conversations Develop Minds for the Future”, with reference to Howard Gardner‘s recent work. The session might have been called “How Social Media Can Develop 21st Century Skills”. The session description we submitted a year ago doesn’t do justice the importance of technology and social media in modern learning environments, but, the session will. Here is a taste of our introduction:

Looking specifically at the meaning of the word social and then the meaning of the word media allows us to come up with our own understanding of what social media is and can be in our classrooms.  Social media can be cordial, gracious, informative, popular and neighborly. It is created by people for people. Individuals become active participants in a communal understanding that is not limited to their own thoughts, or the thoughts of a select few individual ‘experts’. Individuals are linked to the understandings of the world.  Social media is therefore the information of the community.  Would you rather leverage one person or dozens, hundreds, thousands, even millions of people?  Social media engages students because it gives them a platform to leverage many individuals as opposed to just the teacher.

If all works out, we will run a backchannel using twitter hashtags #ascd11 and #1437 (session number). Tweets will be aggregated on todays meet, here: http://todaysmeet.com/1437.  So, if you plan to come (and we hope you do), bring your mobile device!

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