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Posts Tagged ‘ipad

I am not one for conspiracy theories, but a casual observer might say I am living one — the items I need for work have synchronised breakdowns.

Holes appeared in my favourite shoes, my laptop backpack is starting to fall apart, my Macbook periodically freezes and shuts down, and my iPad battery is bloated. All this in a space of about a week or two.

Truth be told, I only noticed the holes and wear on my shoes and bag when they became obvious. They did not appear overnight when seemingly signalled by my iPad and Macbook.

If I think about it, my shoes have lasted a few years, and even though I do not wear them every day, I walk in them more. When I visit new campuses or work environments, I make the effort to explore and my shoes get a work out.

I carry a fair bit in my laptop bag because I want to be prepared for any instructional eventuality. This means I carry a small house on my back. I have worn through my share of bags, so this is not unusual.

My iPad started losing battery capacity several weeks ago, but I ignored this and kept charging it up instead of getting a battery replacement. This probably stressed the battery.

Apple SSD programme.

My laptop, on the other hand, was working fine until I brought it in when I received a notification from Apple for a free servicing for an SSD issue. I had not previously experienced “data loss and failure of the drive”. But the freezing and shutting down started happening after the servicing.

So there is no conspiracy. But there is a going to be a larger-than-usual credit card bill as I pay to get the items repaired or replaced.

Hot on the heels of Apple’s recent education event came this tweet from @AppleEDU:

Here was a critical response:

I agree. The equation of fun = engaging = learning is flawed.

Something that is fun might be engaging, but does not mean that the right gears are in play.

For example, a teacher might introduce a mobile or online game to teach a math skill or language concept. A student might play the game — typically a quiz in disguise — to get a high score, but learn little, if anything at all.

This happens when the teacher focuses on the game or content instead of factoring in the learner’s prior knowledge and cognitive schema. Doing the latter activates the right gears in the learner before they start a meaningful learning journey.

Something engaging still does not guarantee learning. When a teacher tries to engage learners with iPads or Chromebooks, this is an external hook or lure. The stimulus comes from without.

Empowerment comes largely from within. It might start with an engaging hook, but the teacher must also provide learner choice and agency. A teacher teaches; only a learner learns.

Entire school districts might commit to Apple’s new offering. They might also opt for the technical training it offers for teachers. But all these are pointless if there is no socio-technical professional development (PD), i.e., one that focuses on both pedagogy and technology. Such PD is about activating schema and empowering learners with technology. It is not about putting one above the other, i.e., pedagogy over technology, or technology over pedagogy.

Video source

Here is some free PD: The video above and the one embedded in the AppleEDU tweet hint at what empowered students look like. They learn by doing and they create.

However, neither video shows the teacher’s role in all this. Neither video shows what the gaps are, how wide they are, or how to bridge those gaps. This is PD that school administrators and policymakers need to plan and pay for. This is PD that teachers must demand. This is PD that people who live in the nexus of pedagogy and technology — people like me — can provide.

My iPad has a cover that is hanging by its threads. The dust that the cover is supposed to protect the iPad from seems to be holding everything together!

Try as I might, I cannot find the good covers from a few years ago. Stores have flimsy knockoffs or ugly covers, and one online store directed me to a Korean supplier if I wanted a good brand.

I wondered why iPad covers were so difficult to find. Then I remembered some tweets and articles I read.

For example, this was the statistic on the now low reliance of tablets for web surfing.

If you follow the data, this drop seems to be trending over the last few years.

One of the hardest hit might be the iPad. A recent article revealed that the Chromebook was the rising king in US classrooms.

Why? Some answers are generic to any educational technology, but Larry Cuban provided some clues.

Trends like these sound and feel distant. How do these matter to a decision-maker in Singapore, for example?

First, it is important to at least be aware of the data and trends. These are not always objective truths because they are subject to interpretation, but analysing and evaluating these should be the minimum due diligence of any decision-maker.

Second, the centralised purchasing trends need to be juxtaposed with BYOD trends. If teachers and students already have their own devices, the context has changed and so must rules, policies, and purchasing decisions.

If decision-makers collect data in their own schools, they will realise that the BYOD devices tend to be phones, not slates or laptops. The phones are cheaper, lighter, convenient, and essential to learners and teachers alike.

Third, and most importantly, the devices (school-provided or BYOD) need to be custom-integrated into curricula, assessment, and context. What works in one academic subject or school may not transfer to another. And if assessment remains rooted in the traditional technology of pen and paper, there will be little incentive to change.

I doubt that many will draw such extensions and lessons from missing iPad covers. But I do because I reflect on what I read on my iPad about such matters. Now back to my hunt for a replacement cover…

When I read an article that claimed even Apple is acknowledging that the “iPads in education” fad is coming to an end, I came to one conclusion: The article was guilty of misdirection.

The article pointed in every direction except the important one, i.e., how schools might buy technology and head in the wrong direction.

The title of the article was clickbait. It lured with the possibility of reading about how Apple admitted wrong even though there is no mention of it.

There was mention of Apple being “disappointed” by a survey’s results and the company allowing a district to switch iPads for MacBook Airs. However, the report did not state that Apple actually acknowledged that iPads in education was a fad and that it was coming to an end.

The article is guilty of misdirection, just like the school district, its leaders, and its teachers might have been. How do I know?

Consider teacher comments and statements like these:

  • “Largely gaming devices.”
  • “Students use them as toys. Word processing is near to impossible.”
  • One teacher in Virginia thought giving her third graders an iPad would enhance their learning.
  • According to one of the teachers surveyed, tablets provided “no educational function in the classroom.”

The kids are likely to expect to use iPads in school the same way they use them outside school, e.g., to play games, to watch YouTube videos, to chat with friends. If adults are honest, that is how they use devices like iPads too.

Yet the expectations of adults or teachers is not that of kids. They are unrealistic and even ridiculous.

If they would not consider typing on an iPad screen, why should they expect their students to do so? That said, kids who get used to typing on a screen might surprise adults who think that this is an inferior process.

The language of teachers reveals evidence of fixed mindsets. For example, teachers expect the iPad to enhance learning. Why merely enhance and not actually enable learning? (The former makes the technology optional while the latter makes it essential.)

If a teacher complains that the devices have “no educational function”, what functions do they mean? Are they thinking about more efficient delivery of content, ready-made tests that are quickly and easily scored, and babysitting devices?

Are teachers expecting iPads to do what can already be done? Or are they willing to change and try something new, different, and better?

Incidents like the ones reported in the article seem to keep playing on a loop everywhere. They are reminders to leaders and teachers not to get devices without rigorous professional development that changes the mindsets and expectations of teachers. Only then might behaviours change.

Anyone who still thinks or says that the iPad is only for consumption should watch this video.

Video source

Sure, it is in the hands of a master. But why should apprentices not practice and create on the same?

Video source

I wonder…

If we invited “aunties” and “uncles” outside of NIE, would they sign up for this iPad workshop?

Note: No iPads were harmed in the making of this video.

The day the iOS 6 jailbreak was available from evad3rs, I successfully jailbroke an iPhone 4, iPad 2 (3G), and an iPad mini.

The iPad mini, which was already on version 6 of the OS, provided the best jailbreak experience. The process took just a few minutes.

The iPhone and iPad were still in version 5 and had to be wiped, updated, reinstated, and then jailbroken. But all is good now.

The only bug I have noticed is that text shortcuts (e.g., for “omw” to become “on my way”) do not work on the iPhone even though they work on the iPads.

Why do I opt to jailbreak? I explained briefly here but I thought I should elaborate.

I take ownership of my devices and what I do with them. That means customizing them to make them do what I want them to do.

  •  I want my default browser to be Chrome and my go-to map to be Google Maps.
  •  I want to be able to tether my phone any way I want in any country I travel to because I have bought the bandwidth and the data plan.
  •  I want to be able to toggle between multiple Apple store accounts. (I have more than one account because a few apps are not available in Singapore!)
  •  If there is something irritating or lacking in iOS, I want to remove that irritation or add some functionality.

I do not jailbreak to get paid apps for free. I want my device to work conveniently, efficiently, and effectively, so I jailbreak it.

The practice of jailbreaking got me thinking about how there is similar trend in education.

I think more people will want to “jailbreak” education because schools and universities are not responding fast enough. They want to customize their experiences and they want what works for them.

Learners might accept an initially one-size solution, but they will want to tweak it or transform it to their needs. If schools and universities are not prepared to help learners do this, there are stakeholders will find jailbreak solutions.

It is possible to present with an iPad, but the device was not really made for presentations.

Video source

But here is a pair of presenters who take iPad-based presentations to a whole new level!

The novelty and effectiveness of the presentation does not really lie with the iPad. It is the story that they tell that matters.

Lecturing with a board, overhead projector, computer, or iPad is not going to make much of a difference if the nature of the lecture does not change. It is the storyteller that matters.

Recently, Edudemic featured an infographic by OnlineTeachingDegree (link removed on 24 Mar 2013 at publisher’s request) of the numbers game between e-books on iPads and traditional textbooks. I could bring up Richard Byrne’s critique of infographics, but I shall not even though it applies in this case.

It should come as no surprise that textbooks cost less than iPads. But that is if one only focuses on the financial cost of the media tools.

The graphic conveniently fails to point out that iPads are not just reading devices. The iPads cost more because they are more. They are also disruptive in ways that challenge both teaching and learning.

The graphic does not illustrate the cost of NOT using such a technology in powerful ways. It cannot and it dares not. To do so would be to encourage some critical discourse and favour change. Perish the thought!


Source (link removed on 24 Mar 2013 at publisher’s request)

If you need to see how fickle the publishers of infographics can be, you need only look at the one offered by OnlineUniversities which focuses on how e-books are giving textbooks “a run for their money”!

We were honoured to have Dr Seah-Tay Hui Yong of Nanyang Girls High School (NYGH) to present a short keynote and share at a concurrent session at e-Fiesta 2012.

NYGH is one of several schools in Singapore that have adopted the iPad as a learning tool. It is one of very few (or perhaps the only one) that has a long term pedagogical plan and vision where the iPads are concerned.

I think that the plan stems from two underlying beliefs. First, to paraphrase what Hui Yong shared: We are trying to educate 21st century learners with 20th century teachers in 19th century classrooms. Outdated strategies constrained by outdated environments do not make for progressive and relevant education.

That is why she shared the vision of what the classroom might look like.

Video source

The second belief is that teachers need to question how and why they teach. Hui Yong mentioned that she wanted to create an environment where the teacher did not know where to stand. A classroom where there is no single central focus is one way to do that.

I would take that statement a bit further. I would create conditions where the teacher would not even know what to do at first. The teacher would then have to be a learner or co-learner. The teacher would have to relearn how to teach or how NOT to teach in order that students learn.


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