Saturday, February 23, 2013

iPad Momentum

On friday Laurie and I presented at the Nebraska State Reading Association annual meeting in Kearney Nebraska. We were (as we find out) the bookends for a full line-up of iPad sessions. Presenting right after us were our colleagues at UNKearney have been experimenting with a campus-wide iPad implementation. They have reported that the campus has suggested dropping the program because implementation for many departments has been weak at best.

This is a lesson we seem to learn time and again. When we scale up from a small dedicated group of volunteer implementors to mandated large group we have to remember that motivation and support are key. This is the danger for all tablet (mainly iPad) implementation momentum. The iPad can serve as a catalyst for instructional change and enable students to do much more than they ever did. But for that there must be a change in the way we teach. If teaching stays the same, then the new devices like any other educational innovation will fall flat. The bottom line is that Tablets of all kinds are just tools (excellent ones at that), it is up to the user to use them well or not at all.

In many ways this is why I am continuing my video work on iPads in the Classroom. At the same time we are taking the "show" on the road to conferences and are working on a new book. Most importantly, we are continuing our research on iPads so we can evidence to back up what is possible using mobile technology in all classrooms. There is no iPad revolution instead iPads can fuel the next shift in teaching if we use them to change the nature of instruction.

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