iPad 2, Year 2, Audience of 2-- #Macul13 Reflection pt. 2

Last year my colleague, Shawn Jacob, and I had a fabulous time sharing our school's (Zeeland Public) 1 to 1 iPad journey at Macul12. We named our session "Create, Consume, Collaborate and Communicate- the high school iPad experience." It was awesome and we had a sold out crowd, it was literally standing room only. So we thought 'let's do the sequel.' People will want to know what we learned in year one, what we've changed in year two, what were talking about for year three, and how we are going to sustain the initiative in years to come.

We all know how sequels go, or better yet, don't go. It's not that we suck... at least, I don't think we do. We had our magic trick planned and ready to go (pulled due to lack of audience) who else does a magic trick to start their presentation?

Alright, for all you who "wanted-to-come-but-couldn't-make-it" here is a quick summary.

Year 2- What we're doing differently

1. Focus on Digital Citizenship
It quickly became apparent that adolescents might be well versed in digital technologies (although not all) however, they are not well versed in the digital ethics and understanding of the trail they are leaving of themselves online.  

This year we focused more on digital citizenship. Students were required to attend an hour long presentation on online ethics. Parents were encouraged although not forced to attend. We hosted another presentation from a local lawyer on the dangers and consequences of sexting.  

A small group of teachers from the elementary level took sometime looking through age appropriate material for students to learn more about digital citizenship. A decent amount of our website (ilearn.zps.org/digicitizen) is dedicated to equipping parents, students, and staff with resources for addressing and teaching online behavior. 

2. Focus on Instructional Strategies
The theme of concerns from teachers after the first year really drove to the heart of the question "what should I be doing to effectively leverage learning and teaching with an iPad?"  This lead us to layout some strategical practices so our teachers had some targets to shoot at. Here is where we landed:

A. Online Presence. This should be our first step, certainly for those who didn't already have a classroom presence online. For many of our teachers this was already being done so their next move was to ramp up the interactivity. To move away from a static one-way communication space of a website and towards a more social platform, such as Edmodo or Moodle.

B. App-lied Learning. This is sometimes where people say "but it's not about the apps" and of course it isn't but why else did you buy the iPad? Yes, we want our teachers to use the apps for creating, consuming, critical thinking, collaborating etc. We felt it was important to support our teachers in how to use the App eco-system to enrich student learning. This meant re-creating the Blooms Taxonomy Wheel for apps for our teachers and training them on how to use the iPad to collect student work.

C. Data Driven Instruction. With a piece of technology in the hand of every student we knew that collecting data would be much easier. The question then became how do we use this real time data to support / differentiate student learning? Many of our teachers are leveraging the data collecting ability of sites such as Braingenie.com, Thatquiz.org, Moodle Quiz maker, Tenmarks.com, and Mobymax.com. Teachers can use data collected through these online assessments and re-route students during face to face time to better meet their needs.

D. Authentic Audience & Project Based Learning. These two are goals we are striving for but certainly have a way to go to fully implement. The idea being that we really want our students to be producing real world artifacts and problem solving for a real world audience. 

3. Professional Development
Finally one other concern coming from our teachers was around the area of ongoing professional development. They expressed their desire to have someone available full time to work with them towards integrating the iPad into their instruction. This is where my job was created and it has been a real pleasure to serve my k-12 staff this year in this capacity. In addition to face to face support we have ramped up our online professional development as well by offering video tutorials for teachers to view when and if they want. 

Changed Practice- Shawn's example of teaching with an iPad

My colleague and english teacher, Shawn Jacob, did a great job of highlighting a few changed practice behaviors that are indicative of many of our teachers habits. These behaviors include using iTunesU to distribute course materials, using KidBlog.org for his class to publish to authentic audiences, using instagrok.com to conduct research, and finally leverage the iPad for creating great content. 

Shawn is an excellent example of a teacher integrating the iPad in a meaningful way and on a daily basis. The stories he tells about students and their use of the device to build meaning and content is truly spot on and humorous. 

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