Wednesday night, I attended the unconference. This was a great way for a Podstock/Kansas newbie to get to know other educators and get involved in conversation.
We, the participants, were in charge of suggesting and voting for hot educational topics and trends. Educators that were passionate about the voted topics, became the facilitators of the conversations. They were not presenters. Their main role was to keep the conversation moving, allowing everyone the opportunity to talk.
-iPads: Are consumption apps a good or a bad thing?
Educators in this session were open to listening to each others ideas. Here's the deal. Each campus is different, each district has different policies, each tech department decides how much they want to lock down or keep an iPad open. That was a nice eye opener.
Mostly, we all agreed that consumption apps should be tied to a learning standard or used for remediation at the appropriate time. Not anytime, all the time, for no reason at all. Using an app as a digital baby sitter is a big NO NO. We discussed why creation apps were wonderful. Higher order thinking skills, 21st century learning skills, and student engagement are all great reasons to use them. In the end I walked away feeling like there needs to be a balance. One teacher said consumption apps are the way she lures teachers in. I usually lure a teacher in with a creation app like Puppet Pals or Educreations. As a classroom teacher, you know the needs of your students, let's start there and decide what is best for the iPad in your classroom.
-How can administrators support technology integration?
I was interested in this session because two administrators were the facilitators and were asking for input from teachers. The first administrator impressed me. She is active on social media and attends technology conferences. She even invites her faculty to come to Podstock (only four accepted). Even a techie administrator is looking for new ways to reach teachers that are reluctant to use current technology in the classroom when it is available. Participants shared ways they promote proper technology use. Most of the ideas were incentive based. I heard ideas like give more technology to the teacher that will use it and take away from the teacher that doesn't. I have to say that I disagree. Giving to the rich and taking from the poor is not going to solve the problem. Here is my idea. What if we give to innovative teacher integrating technology and ask that person to give back to the school by mentoring one willing teacher with that same technology though out the school year? They could learn together. Maybe this way, we could give to both, promote collaboration, and build communities that work together. I feel giving more technology to the teacher that will use it and taking it away from the teacher that won't use it is not going to change their way of thinking. My goal is to hook the teacher not turn them away.