iPads In The Classroom – iDoc Project

Happy New Year my friends ( I am going by the lunar calendar ) It has been a while but I really haven’t had much to write about, or at least there hasn’t been anything über exciting to share. Winter blah’s seem to have set in and it seems like me and the iPad cohort are just simmering like a pork roast in a slow cooker.

Actually we have been doing stuff but I think there just isn’t as much NEW stuff to share. What we did launch in the new year is the iDoc project I was talking about before Christmas and the kids have been working diligently on their documentaries.

The assignment was to take a teen health issue and create a 15 minute documentary on the topic. See Assignment Here Rubric is Here

I really didn’t want to restrict what it was they did but I had to give some guidance in how they should set up the iDoc so the assignment reads a bit like a step by step but I hope it is open enough for some liberal interpretation. Sometimes we give kids too much guidance and provide too much hand holding, so I tried to leave things up to some application of creative licence.

The single most important element of this iDoc is the 10 questions which the kids are researching and asking others for the video clips. These will be what guide the production and ultimately achieve the “Purpose” of the video. That being, sharing relevant information which teens should be aware of.

During this process, I am learning some things myself.

  • You must resist the urge to organize, control and supervise the kids every move
  • You cannot be a slave to the curriculum
  • Time is your friend
  • Patience is a must

In other words you have to roll with it. This is not the world of the standardized learning outcome. It is a learning environment of unpredictable learning outcomes and challenges but it is real learning, not that prescribed stuff that the ministry doles out in those must cover packages called IRP’s

Now for those of you who are reading this and saying BUT YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW THE CURRICULUM!!!!! Don’t worry, I am giving the kids a dose of boredom every 3 days, just so they will be all lerned up reel good, by the end of the year. Lord knows, I don’t want to deprive the kids or some quality ministry approved learning about STI’s and Drug addiction.

Finally, what has become so incredibly clear in doing this iDoc project, is that with the freedom that tools like the iPad provide us, comes a greater responsibility for learning. What might be surprising to some is that this shift in responsibility will not be onto the backs of teachers. As teachers let go of their role as the one who knows” and embrace a role as the one who shows”, students will need to take on more responsibility for finding the information they need. The days of passively sitting in the classroom looking to teacher for the answers are dying a rapid death and as such, so will the traditional responsibilities for learning.

I am loving my new role as director, as the kids come to me and ask, what do you think? or what should we do with this? I just hope this is the way we are going and it isn’t an anomaly in our daily academic routine.


  1. Devinder Deol (@mrdeol)

    Hi Keith,

    Terrific post on an excellent blog. This is a bit off topic… one thing I noticed was the amount of structure that you built into the assignment – you seem to implying that such guidance may somehow inhibiting alignment with the 21st CL movement. I feel that structure can exist just fine with tech-facilitated ed.

    Like you, I’ve been involved in online ed & distributed learning for a little while (2003 in my case). There’s a perception out there that 2st CL means that learners can do whatever they want, whenever and wherever they want. The slogan at many DL schools is: learning “anytime, anyplace, anypace.” I work in a school where courses are delivered asynchronously, mostly online, and at a distance. I could spend days discussing the pedagogical questions that raises…needless to say that the online, self-paced model works for some, but not all.

    Within just about any e-learning strategy, students still need a lot of guidance. To me, the assignment and rubric you’ve created gives students considerable choice and flexibility and sets them up to gradually construct their skill-set with iMovie etc… I just completed a course in media studies at UBC (etec 531) and the guidelines you’ve provided are a lot clearer than what we received for our media production assignments.

    This past month I worked with the son of a family friend to help him get prepared for the Social Studies 11 prov. Exam. The kid came from a classroom where organization was sporadic. Working with him was like untangling the mess of X-mas light wires that I deal with in November. I get it that teachers want more flexibility with content, and see the profound need for students having choice with topics, interests, experiential learning, but it needs to fit into some sort of framework that makes sense for a human being, other than the human being who created it. 21st CL doesn’t mean the kids wander through courses without any direction – at least I hope it doesn’t. I’m not quite sure where you fall on this question, but am glad that you’re documenting your ipad journey. Some great lessons here if/when I return to a blended classroom. Cheers,


    1. Post

      Well First off Devinder, that was one amazing comment. Thanks!

      I do try to build in an element of step by step for my kids to follow but sometimes I just like to turn them loose and see what they come up with.

      I liken it to turning my kids out into the back 40 during the summer with only a pocket knife and a bucket of water. It is amazing what comes out of it by days end.

      I think in many ways we drum creativity right out of kids with step by step criteria and detailed rubrics. I like to think that creativity comes from the heart the head and the hands and far too frequently the school system gets in the way of that.

      I do however feel that structure is necessary for kids both in school and in life but we need to be able to turn them loose once in a while to see what they come up with…

      Thanks again for the comment. I am honoured that someone would spend so much time giving such a thoughtful comment.


  2. devinder deol (@mrdeol)

    I agree Keith – I’m close to completing a grad degree at UBC and initiative, self-guided learning is certainly the expectation in higher ed. and frankly all ed. these days.

    I think some of my comments went to your point re: “myth of digital natives.” I am astounded at how powerful this myth is (even amongst seasoned educators) and particularly among management types. Under-resourced schools will make it harder for kids to pick up the skill-set they need to survive in a 21st C world. The illusion that kids pick up these skills without guidance is ridiculous. Tech skills are learned skills and schools need the tools, funding, training to make it happen – a little structure doesn’t hurt either.

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