I was recently asked if my students “played” on the iPads a lot. The question was intended to be offensive, but rather reflective of a misconception by some, around the integration of iPads into education. iPad use in my classroom is not an activity, but rather they are a tool; much like a pencil or a chalkboard. I am not alone here, there are many innovative educators that have adopted this technology and found engaging ways to incorporate it into their programs.
So here is the thing. Technology is sexy. It’s flashy. It’s engaging. What it is not, is education. An iPad on its own is as useful as a pencil that is not picked up. As facilitators, I think we are responsible for looking for ways to use this appeal to amp up our pedagogy. The burning questions seems to be, how do we do that?
I think the answer really depends on the educator. How comfortable they are using the technology, and what their purpose is. Whatever it looks like, it should be engaging and efficient. If it is creating more work, it isn’t effective!
So, what are my kids doing on the iPads, if they aren’t playing? In a nutshell; researching, documenting, collaborating, creating and sharing their work. They are blogging, tweeting and learning what it means to be a responsible digital citizens. And, more often than not….they are teaching me something new or cool that they discovered.
I came across a quote not long ago, and really wish I knew the author to give due credit. It said, “pedagogy is the driver, technology is the accelerator”, and this pretty much sums up my philosophy.
So, next time you see a teacher wheeling a cart of iPads to their room, please remember it isn’t an overpriced toy box on wheels!
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