Friday, August 24, 2012

Great Articles and Links of the Week

I started this week thinking about Bill Ferriter's article Are Kids Really Motivated by Technology.  In our school we distributed iPads to every student in grades 5-8 this week.  Some of the teachers commented to me that they were surprised that the students were not more enthusiastic about receiving this fabulous new gadget. Some students seemed downright bored while going through the required training.  Aren't we all bored by tech training?  Ferriter argues that children are not intrinsically motivated by technology. What gets them excited is collaboration and social justice.  I would add that students become really motivated when they have the opportunity to find the best way to do a task and to teach what they have discovered to their peers.  This is true of lesson plans that don't use iPads, but many people find that iPads make collaboration, peer teaching, and self-discovery easier. 

Once you find the appropriate use for the iPad, it can be an incredibly useful tool.  Need proof? A study published this summer on the use of iPads at Longfield Academy in Kent, England found that the school's 1:1 iPad program had a “significant and very positive impact on learning and teaching which, in time, should be reflected in achievement and attainment, thanks to both pedagogical changes and new ways of learning engendered by the ‘any time anywhere’ access to information and learning tools.”  Another success story can be found in Perse Girls Senior School who made a wonderful video about their program.

For teachers struggling to find that appropriate use,  Edtechteacher offers some really helpful suggestions.  They list a variety of learning objectives that would apply to any subject and then provide a list of applications to help meet those objectives.  Finally, for those intellectual explorers, Edudemic gives you 50 Must-Download Apps for Lifelong Learners.  I was a little surprised that they left off Evernote, but it still is a nice list.  I'll be spending the weekend investigating these apps and thinking about which of my teachers might benefit from their usage.

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