If you read last weeks blog, I am sure you are waiting on baited breath to hear how this weeks meeting with the iPad teachers went. As far as meetings go it wasn’t too shabby and as it turns out, the past three weeks with the iPad kids went quite well too. As expected, everyone had both positive things to say and some frustrations to report. Unfortunately this blog post will focus on one universal frustration which has dogged all of use these past three weeks.
Virtually every teacher at our meeting had the same niggling question. What is the best way to collect work from the kids? We have all struggled with trying to find an effective way for kids to submit completed assignments. As I had said last week, we have all resorted to having the kids email their work to us but the consensus is that another way has to be found.
The whole thing serves to illustrate just how important paper has been in sharing information over the centuries . Paper is a simple and effective way to transfer knowledge and demonstrate understanding. Paper has been the common currency of education and part of the the daily transactions between student and teacher for generations. It would seem however, that this important part of the educational process was not identified by the good people at Apple. It is my opinion that this is something that the iPad MUST be able to do before it could be considered an educational tool.
Now don’t get me wrong, it is undeniable that the iPad is a powerful learning tool and we are finding new and exciting ways to use it on a daily basis BUT the inability to easily complete the most basic of transactions between student and teacher, suggests that the ipad wasn’t really designed as an educational tool.
What we have discovered is that the iPad is fantastic for dispensing information to the user whether it be text, video or audio. Students can even produce some cool stuff to prove that they have acquired the concepts we are trying to impart but it is that missing link between student and teacher. The centuries old exchange which makes up the economy of education has somehow been overlooked or perhaps purposely left out by Apple.
By meetings end, we had decided to approach Apple directly to see if they had an “educational expert” on staff who could address our frustrations and perhaps suggest some solutions. As of Friday at 3 PM we have not heard back but we are hopeful.
So, as of weeks end, I remain thankful that I have been given the opportunity to break new ground in the rapidly changing landscape of education. With any luck, if I continue to bellyache on a weekly basis, I may even influence the way we teach children in the years to come.