iPad Party

This evening, it was pizza and iPads at Tiki’s place.  Mrs. Kile, a 4th grade teacher in my building, “won” a writing contest granting her the use of 5 District purchased iPads for the remainder of the school year.  (Check out her iPad blog.)  Lucky us!  We ordered pizza, downloaded apps, talked blogging, shared websites, and bemoaned the lack of Flash support in the iPad.

Although I love the ‘wow’ factor in the iPad- and there are some apps that really amaze me- the bottom line is that I think the iPod Touch has better educational application at the elementary level… at 1/3 of the cost.  It was very frustrating to see that many Web 2.0 tools- like Glogster, Scribblar, and may others- can’t be used on the iPad.  And compared to the iPod Touch App base, there were few Apps that took advantage of all that extra real estate.  I’m sure that will change over the coming months, but for now, I’m withholding judgment.

Wins:

  • Large screen viewing of websites
  • Drawing/notepad applications
  • Size/weight/portability

Fails:

  • Lack of Flash support
  • Keyboard remained hidden on some websites that need it
  • Lack of Flash support
  • Limited number of apps
  • Mac apps like iWork not bundled
  • Oh, did I mention the lack of Flash support?

(And by the way, my children loved the Labyrinth and RollerCoaster apps…. and were generally enthralled with the iPad.)

Huge thanks to Mrs. Kile for sharing with us!

Learning 2.0:A Colorado Conversation

CO LearningToday, I attended COLearning in Loveland, CO with a very intelligent and forward thinking group of 21st Century educators.

I began the morning listening to Melinda Miller in “A Principal’s Perpective: Leading Tech Integration with Regular People”, which I quickly realized was well beyond where I needed to be.  Using the CO Learning policy of “two feet”, I stood up, and walked into another session that was more suited to my learning needs- the “Got PD?” session with Michael Wacker & Ben Wilkoff.

Bud Hunt shared “Show & Tell for Everyone” in Session PD2.  He challenged us to, “Think of something educationally awesome.”…. then share that story, tell why it’s important and post a link to your “show and tell” on the Ethernet.  Homework!!!! The things Bud has to share about transparency really resonate with me.  And I’m going to have to read my own Twitter feed in order to remember other things from his session.

For the final formal session of the day, I chose “Vodcasting: From Capture to Distribution” by Brian Hatak.  This was probably the most practical session of the day for me, and I left encouraged to start creating simple podcasts tutorials for the computer lab.  It is exciting to see how educators like Brian are using technology to move learning beyond the classroom, and also to free up classroom time for learning.  He had software, hardware, and application suggestions for us- all of which are appreciated.

The Unconference Session of the day was on Elementary Education & Technology.  The group was primarily composed of people from my district, which enabled us to have some very specific discussions regarding software, firewalls, server issues, and general tech implementation issues.

I’m still thinking over these things, but wanted to post in the spirit of “it doesn’t have to be perfect” that Brian Hatak mentioned.

"Teaching with Primary Sources: Essentials Exploration"

Today, I attended an incredible 8-hour professional development course presented by the Library of Congress in conjunction with the University of Northern Colorado.  Due to a number of pressing circumstances, there was great temptation to stay home.  I am so glad I didn’t!  My mind is pleasantly full, my heart is ready to approach another week of students, and my hands will certainly be busy for weeks navigating through the digital catacombs of the Library of Congress.

Migrant Mother

Erin Hunt, the instructor, did an wonderful job sharing the vast Library of Congress website, introducing teaching ideas using primary sources, and exploring copyright issues.  My favorite part of the class was exploring the “American Memory” Exhibition.  One valuable thing I learned was that you can view a photograph, and then display images with neighboring call numbers.  This will often show other photos taken in the same town or of the same family, which help to give context to photographic images.  It was interesting to see the images surrounding the famous “Migrant Mother” photo by Dorthea Lange.  I also learned about the availability of maps and high resolution images which can be printed from the Library of Congress to use on classroom walls, etc.  Additionally, there was information on inquiry-based teaching and the 21st Century learner.

I’m looking forward to completing one of the three projects assigned in order to receive graduate credit, and to incorporating the lesson ideas with 3rd-5th graders in the computer lab over the coming months.

“Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California..” Library of Congress. Web. 24 Jan 2010. <http://memory.loc.gov/service/pnp/cph/3b40000/3b41000/3b4