Thursday, July 7, 2011

Create Art? Be Remarkable? Can I Have an Example Please!

I´ve always been a big proponent of examples. I think they help us grasp direction, and are the basis of collaboration. In my earlier post last week I mentioned creating art in reference to Seth Godin´s quote. I would like to clarify more what he means by that.

He states, "I don´t believe that you are born to do a certain kind of art, mainly because your genes have no idea what technology is going to be available to you. Cave painters, stone carvers, playwrights, chemists, quantum-mechanic mechanics - people do their art where they find it, not the other way around. The art that you do when you interact with a customer (student), or when you create a new use of a traditional system or technology - it´s still art. Our society has reorganized so that the answer to the question "where should I do art?" is now a long booklet, not a simple checklist of a few choices (Godin, 2010)."

Let me provide you with an example. The Cedars School of Excellence in Greenock Scotland was one of the first schools in the world to pilot a 1:1 environment for the ipad k-12. Here is what Fraser Speirs (@fraserspeirs) who is the Head of Computing and IT at Cedars and also develops iOS apps for Connected Flow had to say about the first phase of their ipad deployment.

"We've done something that's not often tried – we brought in technology and didn't tell people how to use it". Instead of thinking of the iPad as a digital textbook, it's become a research and creativity tool across all subjects; because of this, minds are being expanded and experiences broadened, not restricted. Once, the school focused on iWork, iLife and Safari, but now pupils access dozens of varied apps (Speirs, 2010)."

If you´re looking for inspiration, I highly recommend visiting Cedars website. I teach fourth grade, and have been searching all summer for more inspiration on Project Based Learning for my upcoming students. I love examples, they are art, and they allow me to see the tools that are available to do my art. Godin states, "Shakespeare didn´t invent plays, he used them. Salinger didn´t invent the novel, he wrote a few. The technology existed before they got there (Godin, 2010)."

The Cedars 4/5 group recently published and sold a book at a local bookstore. They created the content and art using their ipads. Talk about a fundraiser! These types of projects are what being remarkable is all about.

Monday, July 4, 2011

iPad2 Coming Soon, Now What?

Very soon the iPad2 will be in the hands of all ZPS educators and soon there after in the hands of students. Some will be asking the fundamental question, "Now What?" The interesting thing about the iPad is, I think you´ll continue to ask yourself that question even after a few years of toting it around in your pack. The world of apps is ever changing, and constantly improving for this little book of the future. One might ask themselves; where are we heading with this? The world of predictability is shrinking, becoming more transparent; information we have always trusted is in question, and being re-written constantly. Why? The collective voices of everyone in the world is now being heard, their stories are being told in real time and shared. Exciting isn´t it! Now, we are ready to give that power to the classroom. The iPad is a device that is totally customizable. In fact, email me when you have this experience. You´ll be cooking along thinking you´re doing pretty good with your device, and then you´ll meet someone else who has tons of cool apps, that can do things you didn´t even think of. You might feel a little lame, or behind. But, what you´ve just experienced is the power of collaboration. You´ve been exposed to new ideas, new ways of doing things, and you´ll be that person to someone else along the road as well. That power is about to go exponential in Zeeland Public Schools, and it´s going to be a wild ride! Should we expect things to change? They always have and always will. I have been reading Seth Godin´s book titled "Linchpin." He describes, "The New American Dream, though, the one that markets around the world are embracing as fast as they can, is this:

Be remarkable

Be generous

Create Art

Make judgement calls

Connect people and ideas

...and we have no choice but to reward you. (Godin, 2010)"

I think it´s impossible to quantify what is possible with these devices. This really is just the beginning. The question "Now What?" will be different for everyone, and that´s what I believe is so remarkable about this. You know what your interest´s are; go search for them, discover what this new world has for you. Get it, and share it with everyone you know. That´s what will make this a truly remarkable transformation. If you´re waiting for a manual; for predetermined steps of action then you could be missing the whole point. Sure some guidance will be provided, but in the end it will be up to you to navigate your path and share your success.

Happy Fourth of July. Let freedom ring!