Byron's Babbles

iPads for Everyone

Posted in Education by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on September 22, 2011

This week my students and I had the opportunity to work with our school board on the use of iPads. I say work with the school board not speak to because it was not a presentation, but more of a workshop. I only spoke for about one minute and then let the students take over.

Here’s what I outlined:

1. iPads, or any other technology for that matter do not make a teacher effective. The teacher is still responsible for that regardless of the modality – even if on-line.

2. Technology, such as iPads, help enhance and facilitate effective student learning.

3. The technology must be in the hands of the students. I firmly believe we must go one-to-one with iPads or some other type of computer. This is the only way that we can truly facilitate 24/7 learning with our students to connect, extend and challenge them.

Setting the Stage

My students had the school board members do a lab that we did the previous week in our Advanced Life Science – Plant and Soils course. they used the iPad, Pasco PASPort sensor system, and the Sparkvue App to test the CO2 levels coming off of different soil samples. The students did this lab as a connection, extension, and challenge to the lab they had done the previous week of actually doing the chemistry to test for Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium in soil samples from our Outdoor Agronomy Lab.

What the Students Did

The students demonstrated a lesson using the iPad that would make a connection between soil testing by hand using chemicals and new technology. By using the Pasco PASPort sensor system, and the Sparkvue App the students extended the school board members’  knowledge by using relevant equipment used by industry to test the CO2 levels coming off of different soil samples. Then the students challenged the school board members to make predictions on carbon levels of the soil. They did a great job of using the idea of connecting, extending and challenging to model the of iPad and bluetooth technology in their ALS – Plant and Soils Course.

What I tweeted

During the school board lab one of my students told them and I tweeted, “Technology allows me to learn in a real and relevant context.” Pretty insightful from my student, don’t you think?

Vision for Technology

Students are always found coming to class enthusiastic and ready to connect to a global society brought together through technology. Technology allows for remote and self-guided learning to further differentiate learning and offer an even wider range learning opportunities. With technology it will even be possible to do distance learning with other schools and extend our learning to a 24/7 philosophy. I for one embrace the idea that one-size-fits-all schools do not work for all students. Because the same teaching techniques do not work equally for every student, technology can be matched with the appropriate pedagogy to meet the educational needs of all students.

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One Response

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