Quite possibly yes is the answer to that question! The ability to access information and collaborative tools made possible through tablets, laptops, and mobile devices is certainly no gimmick. The better question revolves around what teachers can do to leverage the 1:1 access of a fully “connected” learning environment; and perhaps more importantly, what they don’t do, despite having access to so much. Every year I see more teachers finding creative ways to utilize a small group of computers and devices with their classes in much deeper and innovative ways than merely putting a laptop in front of each student and asking them to all type/research/present on the same topic.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there’s anything bad with the standard five paragraph essay, or ensuring that students have the stamina to conduct regular research or write day in and day out. The new media landscape of the internet is surviving on the regular churn of “branded content” from the likes of Buzzfeed, HuffPo, and other websites. That type of content can only exist with the help of writers, designers, and other “creatives” that have the stamina to put out an impressive amount of work day in and day out. However, preparing students for life after high school means that we often need to give them a diverse range of opportunities, and in the case of at least one extremely successful software development company, that could mean having them work in a shared computing environment.
But enough of me blathering on; I hope you enjoy this episode of “Tech Director Chat” with special guest, Ben Tomlinson of the Van Buren County ISD.
Timestamps for this week’s questions:
0:41 Pete isn’t here!
3:05 Someone asks Ben Tomlinson about creative ways to manage laptop carts at the high school.
6:55 It sounds like a party going on in the Tech Department
7:30 What happens if we guarantee every high school teacher a specific number of computers, rather than a full cart?
9:30 Is the model of 1:1 technology use in education a gimmick?
13:07 Does Ben Tomlinson have an example of getting students started down the collaborative path of technology use?
17:00 Stump Not Pete!
18:00 Will Ben Tomlinson be getting a Smart Watch?