Think the Same - #iPads and 1 to 1 @mrhooker

Adapted from these image sources featuring an HP netbook and iPad

Like a grown-up watching an errant child go astray, I could see a colleague's head shaking as he muttered these words into the Twittersphere:
  • Wow. some pretty antiquated thinking in there Miguel, but interesting points of view.

What!? Antiquated thinking? That's a first...NOT! May I have some fun with this? I want to play with the ideas here as I explore my biases. What I don't want to do is suggest enmity or profound raucous disagreement. 

Follow-up tweets from my esteemed colleague, @mrhooker included the following:
  • It's about interactive, instant engaging access, not replacing current tech. You have to shift your goals about tech
  • Other devices could accomplish similar tasks, so to each their own, but 1:1 access for K-12 should be the goal.
Ah, wisdom of the ages in 140 character tweets. Let's take these words in turn and ask a few questions. As it's late at night, I'm about worn out. But some questions come to mind:

1) "Interactive." You mean "interactive" excludes using technologies other than the iOS devices? Why do you think that?

2) Instant, Engaging Access. Obviously, many human beings were engaged with technology provided they had access to it. If you don't have regular access to technology, then it's difficult to be engaged...iOS devices are being issued to students individually, but wouldn't other devices be as successful if they were simply made accessible? I've yet to see a child turn down a device that was their ONLY way to access a world of content, ideas, and creativity tools.

3) "Not replacing current tech." Now, this suggestion has merit, far more than the previous points about interactive, engaging access to technology. The others are often cited as ways that new technologies can "transform" what we're doing. But this point you make is particularly interesting. If I understand it, this means the following:
  • Let's not spend money on replacing computer labs. Those are obsolete ways of approaching the problem of encouraging students to use technology for real life problem-solving, creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. This means that computer labs we use now, NOT only should we avoid replacing them, we need to junk the concepts that led to their creation.
  • In a one to one environment with iPads, we approach teaching and learning differently. How exactly? Check out iPadAddiction!

    The best insight I've seen is in this quote below, but to be blunt, this isn't any different than what I've seen from PBL approaches:
    The teacher allowed the students to use any method to achieve their lesson objective. Consequently, two students produced material, two used the device and two managed and lead the working environment. The students had taken existing, ‘comfortable’ working methods and incorporated the device. It might not seem revolutionary, but after eight weeks of the trial, this observation supports the desire to provide another tool to enhance learning. The iPad is not seen as a ‘magic bullet’, rather it is an instrument that can enhance learning and the ease of use is encouraging it’s integration.
4) "Other devices accomplish similar tasks." If other devices accomplish similar tasks to the iPad, then why should we pay for the iOS devices in schools if they are less expensive? Shouldn't we start out with the more important question of how we are going to approach teaching and learning differently, then pick the device from that point? Assessment of an tech-based curriculum initiative becomes infinitely easier, no? The real sticking point I see is that the iPad does NOT accomplish similar tasks to its competitors (e.g. netbooks). 

If the iPad brought us to the land of milk and honey, as well as made it possible to accomplish the tasks its competitors excel at, then there would be no complaint, no problem with embracing it as THE solution. Does the iPad do the tasks of its predecessors well enough? That depends on the learning objectives and processes put in place in a classroom.

5) "1:1 access for K-12 should be the goal." Hmm...if one to one is the goal, the altar upon which all other concepts are sacrificed, then we need to plan for scale and breadth. I need to first decide what we need to be able to accomplish instructionally, what we can support and afford within K-12 settings, then select the device that's appropriate. If you study the numbers, though, no one will ever be able to afford the iPad because it means excluding everything else.

Help me think different...make this your iPad wallpaper, take a picture of yourself holding it, and send it to me!
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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Comments

Anonymous said…
Miguel, I'm 100% on your side with this -- I just can't see any logical case for iPads versus, say, Windows-based netbooks. It seems like a huge disservice to students to choose an entirely closed platform with no keyboard.

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