We ran across an item on Edutopia that got us talking and thinking, “Dispelling the Myths About 1:1 Environments” by Andrew Marcinek (Oct 5th, 2012). Part of an ongoing series about his experience in launching a 1:1 initiative at Burlington High School with over 1,000 iPads, Mr. Marcinek outlines 5 myths he’s uncoverded during the 1:1 initiative:
Myth 1: The Digital Generation Needs Technology
Myth 2: The iPad is Simply a Tool
Myth 3: It’s Not a Distraction
Myth 4: Creating or Purchasing Textbooks for the iPad is a Grand Innovation
Myth 5: Going 1:1 with iPads Teaches One Product
You can read Mr. Marcinek’s assertions on Edutopia. While we don’t agree or disagree with all his points, we had a few thoughts.
Here’s our take…
Renita Heideman – There is one argument that should never be used to defend a lack of change – because that’s the way we’ve always done it (Ian Jukes – TTWWADI). Just because colleges aren’t changing doesn’t mean we shouldn’t push the envelope and force change upward in a K-16 environment. That would include professional development for our friends in higher ed.
No matter where or when, professional development is essential to the success of any technology implementation. Without good leading and demonstration, the tools intended to provide change will gather dust. Technology IS a distraction. Education, in some schools, could use some distractions and disruptions. Change is good. We need to keep mixing it up for inspiration.
The bottom line is give students tools that help them learn to think in new and divergent ways. This is the basis for true innovation, and our country needs to imagine to survive.
Rusty Stamper – Focusing on Myth 3 (It’s Not a Distraction), computers, iPads, laptops are all merely appliances. Take the toaster as an example (granted, there are some fancy multifunction toasters). I am sure the first toasters were experimented with in all kinds of ways, now you just want a warm cinnamon raisin bagel on which to spread your strawberry cream cheese.
Once you get to the point that everyone has one they become less of a distraction and it becomes a common, everyday tool that is an important part of the learning process.
David Valentine – Commenting on Myth 5: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is a much better model than forcing a learner to learn a new product. The argument that you are just teaching students to organize their educational workflow in a 21st century context is a bogus argument for forcing one product over others. The iPad device becomes the only link to their educational workflow process if a learner is not an Apple user at home. In this instance the importance of the device is too significant.
The analogy of the iPad to a hammer in Myth 2 is off the mark. Maybe more like a multi-tool (think the Leatherman). The tool (iPad) allows us to work in a way that increases access to information and can (if used properly) increase productivity. I agree with the need for professional development and teaching learners how to use this tool. Being a Technology & Engineering educator I would not give any learner a tool without teaching safety and proper use, the iPad tool similarly should be taught and demonstrated in order to ensure proper and effective use.
Rob Kovacs – Maybe every child doesn’t need a digital tool for a particular part of learning, but they certainly need the opportunity to try it, understand it, and see if it will help them. That’s their right. While I am a big supporter of BYOD, having an iPad can force change in what teachers except as demonstration of learning. The iPad and devices like it opens up a multitude of ways for the learner to express and demonstrate what they understand and know.
The distractions created by these devices is what we need in education. The creativity that comes from being curious is learning.
That’s our take. What’s yours?
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