Thursday, 19 July 2012

iPads in the Classroom PD

Yesterday I was lucky enough to go to an excellent PD presented by Spectronics about the use of iPads in classrooms, particularly for differentiating instruction.
I was really, really lucky because my wonderful principal let me take along three colleagues.
I am an iPad convert. I have been using Apple products since I was seven (that's over thirty years - wow - I am old!) and as each new innovation has been launched I have been lucky enough to have at least been kept in the loop by my father, who lives and breathes Apples.
But the iPad has me really interested. I truly hope that it is the tool that will help me to become a better teacher. I want to transform my teaching so I can take my students on learning journeys we never before thought possible - and I think the iPad might help me do it.
I will admit that before I went along to the PD yesterday I was a little afraid it was going to be an "iPad for Dummies" session and that I would come away without learning anything, but Greg O'Connor managed to engage his audience that included everyone for self-proclaimed "iPad virgins" to techno-geeks.
He was honest, interesting and intelligent.
He said out aloud many of the things that I have been thinking for a while. He even said many of the things that I have been saying.
After about an hour, I was very impressed, very glad I came along and very happy that it turns out I am not as crazy as I thought I might have been.
Greg demonstrated a few simple things that could be done with an iPad - not too much to overwhelm people who were just starting out, but enough to inspire thinking about how else these devices might be useful.
He was upfront about the limitations and challenges: ICT stands for "It Can't Teach" and quality teachers are more important than ever; It's the pedagogy, not the tool that makes for good learning; learning to work with new technology is hard work.
Tomorrow my colleagues and I are planning to share some of what we learnt with other staff at our school. We all came away from the day inspired to keep on learning, and I think that is the mark of a quality PD!

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