Sunday, June 30, 2013

Back at the Reading Center- iPads and pre service teachers

 I come back to Reading Center every summer with anticipation. It is a great place to try out new ideas and examine change in teachers and students over short periods of time. During the last few years integrating technology especially tablets (well really iPads) has been a focal point. Two years ago we experimented with iPads for instructors, coaches, and teachers working with struggling readers. The following summer we purchased a classroom set and integrated technology into every aspect of the course.

This summer technology, when it is useful, is ubiquitous- which ultimately is our goal. During the first day about a third of my students showed up with their own tablets. By mid course it was over a half. As students saw that tablet use is encouraged, almost required, they brought devices they already had. The rest are still using our class set.

I am not a big fan of a random BYOD. It creates more problems than solutions. As a program we moved into defining a requirement that will create enough uniformity allowing faculty and students to find a common path. At the same time I am finding that students are eager to bring their devices and use them to support instruction.

I love hearing comments like: "this is much better when I use my phone" or this works better without using the iPads. It means that teachers (and future teachers) are developing the capacity to use technology and make professional judgements about utility and cost benefit.

The impact can be seen through comment by one of our teachers last week:

Alan lights up whenever I pull out the iPad and always wants to know where I found a certain app, or how I created a game. Alan even goes home and adds the free apps to his iPad at home. I have liked using just the basic Safari browser for Google Images. Alan has a hard time picturing words he's never heard of, so we look up pictures of him. This week I used iCardSort, Safari, Dragon Dictation, iDictionary, and Track and Change. (Names were changed)

Change now is multi level. Teachers are coming with more willingness and more access to devices. They see the connection to devices already in the schools, and finally we can add to their knowledge and flexible implementation of technology integration.

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