This post was written back in April and was cross-posted on EdTechTeacher
So I received the tweet below from a friend in Iowa this morning:
Being one of the first schools in our region to go all in on iPads at the high school level, I am always interested in reading the perspectives of others on this topic. I think that there are a number of questions that need to be addressed for schools thinking about increasing the number of devices in their classrooms or moving towards a 1:1 program. The post referenced in the tweet by my friend Jimmy, a high school Principal in Iowa, is worth a read for people looking at investing in iPads (or going 1:1 with any device).
The post, Why most K-12 schools aren’t ready for the iPad Revolution, cites four reasons that most schools are not prepared to purchase iPads for all students. The four reasons cited by the author, Mike Reiners (CEO of Nomad), are as follows:
- Teaching requires planning.
- Consider where we’re spending our education dollars.
- The iPad is primarily a consumption device.
- Our students should be mobile multilingual.
This consideration is one that we actually utilized to help us purchase our devices in Burlington. I am pretty sure that many schools do not spend enough time looking at what they are spending their money on now. What are some of the annually purchases that we make that we just don’t think about? (i.e. paper, printers, textbooks, computers, etc.) Our purchase of the iPads saved us in the vicinity of $100,000 due to the fact that we were looking at new options for a Foreign Language Lab and that does not take into consideration that most schools also add a para-professional to the mix to help maintain such a lab. We were also able to stop our annual expenditures on maintaining other labs in the building that were used primarily for word processing and research since the purchase of the devices allowed us to have this access in every classroom. Add in the fact, that we are no longer making large-scale textbook purchases for a course and we were well on our way to the amount needed to purchase our devices.
“Many argue that the iPad is the premiere consumption device at this time but it isn’t very good at creating. Is that accurate? I tend to believe that the iPad is an amazingly creative device and the user is the only limit for the device.”
Adam Webster also wrote a post on Edudemic a while back titled 5 Reasons The iPad Will Stay King Of The Classroom in which he stated:
“The iPad, its workflow and its apps, allow for real change and makes it easy. Your students will create work that not only wasn’t possible before their innovative use of the technology, but that you as their teacher had never even thought of.”
Our students should be mobile multilingual
This definitely should be the goal for our students and I touched on this idea in a post back in January titled Is The iPad King? It Is For Us And That’s All That Matters (For Now). My concluding statement in the post was – “While I believe that we have made the best decision for our school today, things change quickly and we need to create organizational and individual flexibility to adapt to these changes when they occur.”
Royan Lee wrote a wonderful post on this topic about a month ago on his blog titled “Why Mish-Mash Is Better Than 1:1.” In the post he noted:
“I prefer teaching with the limitations of no class sets, because it means we’re constantly reflecting on the merits of each tool for the given purpose.”
The bottom line is that we need to make sure that the adults in the schools are modeling the flexibility and adaptability in their practice that our students are going to need to have to be successful. All of us who work in schools know that this is can be difficult since change is not something common in our traditional educational system and we have grown comfortable with many tools, workflows, and practices that are long outdated.
In fact, the most important statement made in the post by Reiners is the one at the end which notes:
In summary, let’s think about what we’re doing. Blind, quick-trigger actions in education, especially expensive and invasive ones, have historically disastrous results.