I am very fortunate because I teach at a school where we have invested in mobile technology, specifically iPads. If I want my students to create something using a specific app it’s pretty easy. However the iPads are picking up in popularity and I no longer have unlimited access to them so I’ve had to change my plan. My class does participate in BYOD but not all devices are the same so I can’t say “go into PicCollage” or “using BookCreator” I have to be aware that depending on the device some students may not have access to the apps that I am familiar and confident with. My awesome ITRT recently introduced me to the phrase Device Neutral Creation. Which means keep in mind the goal is creation. If you want your students to create a photo essay represented by a collection of images it doesn’t matter if they have an android or apple device. It doesn’t matter that they are all using the same app as long as they are all creating. You know what else I’ve learned, you don’t even need to know how to use the app they are using. Kids are really good at figuring it out. In fact when I show kids a new app I don’t worry about learning the ins and outs of the app. I learn enough to introduce and then I let the kids go. Usually in five or ten minutes they will have discovered more than I would have in an hour.
Device Neutral Creation makes BYOD a lot less scary. Kids don’t have to be using the same thing. The ultimate goal is creation.
I often struggle with this am I a 21st Century Teacher or Learner? Pretty much at every moment of the day I sway between the two teacher, learner, teacher, learner. I guess really the answer is I’m both. I have a good tech understanding but there is WAY more that I don’t know. I think what makes me a good 21st century teacher is that I’m willing to learn. I like to test out new apps and ideas and learn things along with my students and from my colleagues. But this can bring about a lot of frustration when things don’t go as planned, and they often do not.
Last night I participated in a #geniushour chat on Twitter. I casually thought I could plan my math unit and chat but I was so involved in the learning that the math was pushed to the side for an hour. It was honestly the coolest professional development I could be a part of. Me, in my living room, with my coffee and my children in bed. I connected globally with amazing educators who are starting out with #geniushour or are well versed in it. I am so excited to bring #geniushour to my class! Tomorrow is the launch day, I’ve been pumping them up all week for it. Stay tuned for updates.
This year I’ve decided to go with a digital daybook. I’m using the app Plan Book (both on my MAC and iPad) and so far it’s pretty great. It’s a bit cumbersome to set up your schedule but once you do it’s pretty easy. I’m hoping to connect via twitter with others who are using it for some tips. I like that you can email the plans and when needed print them for supply teachers. Here’s a picture of what my desk looks like right at the moment. Note the Pumpkin Spice Latte (Happy Fall)