Frustration

Today I learned about a teacher in another district who has a lab set of iPads for his classes. The teacher originally wanted notebook computers, but was shut down by their IT department, which had decided that only iPads will be purchased for the foreseeable future. The teacher didn’t want iPads, but received them anyway.

This teacher teaches math In a quasi-flipped format. In a true flipped class, student watch videos at home (or outside of class), and then come to class to work on homework and to take quizzes and tests. This teacher allows students to move at their own pace inside the class, watching videos and doing homework, quizzes, and tests–all in class. Therefore, when it comes to technology, the teacher only uses a web browser for his classes.

Here’s the frustration for me: the iPads used by that teacher only have one additional app installed: a calculator. No other apps are desired or wished for. No, I don’t expect a teacher to immediately adopt every app, or a large number of apps. But only one app? A calculator? Come on. The message from the teacher is clear: “We only need a browser, YouTube, and a calculator. We don’t need no stinkin’ iPads. Thank you.”

What a waste.

It’s amazing that a teacher in a flipped classroom wouldn’t be working to leverage every bit of usefulness and flexibility from those iPads, including handwriting apps, drawing apps, or even screen cast apps like Show Me.

I contacted an IT person I know in that district and asked why they allow the teacher to have such a limited impact with those iPads. They responded that it wasn’t their place to tell a teacher how to use technology or how to teach. That district needs technology integration specialists. If I were a technology integration specialist, I certainly would urge the teacher to go farther (I’d show them other resources rather than abandon them), and I’d make the case to remove those devices from that teacher if they weren’t going to get full use.

If you adopt iPads, will you please make a pledge to continue to try to find new uses for the device as time goes on? I certainly will, if we ever get iPads for every student.

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