Monday, January 23, 2012

Devices From Home and Innovation?

A year ago during our planning phases of 1:1 we had predicted students would eventually come to school with shinny new devices they had received from under the Christmas Tree.  Therefore, I shouldn't have been surprised when I returned to school after break to smiling faces telling me "guess what Mr. Braymer, I got an ipod touch for Christmas!"  I just hadn't thought it would happen so soon.  I currently have nine desktop computers in my classroom, so as far as the normal fourth grade room goes I have more than most.  But, with 25 students using them it can be difficult to manage.  With several students bringing their ipod touches, and nooks to school it noticeably frees up computers for other students.  Thanks parents!

This lead me to another thought.  We have been learning about the lumber era and how technology advancements lead to deforestation, and ultimately the end of unsustainable logging practices as they were known.  In short, technology lead to a complete overhaul in the way the lumber business was operated.  Why? because it didn't make sense to continue doing the job the way it was currently being done.

So, here we stand on the threshold of a massive change in the way educational practices have always been performed.  For so long the teacher has been the giver of information; the lead person with all the knowledge.  Now, it is obvious that technology has changed that matrix.  Zeeland has begun this journey as a leading player by putting such powerful devices in the hands of students.  These portable devices are forcing the education world into an overhaul of they way educators deliver content.  With these machines in the hands of our students, only time will tell how quickly we can innovate our practices to look more like the future that our students will be living in.  One thing is for sure; the information is at every one's finger tips all the time. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

1st Semester Reflections

Here at the high school, it is hard to believe that our first semester of students and teachers with iPads is about to come to an end.  This semester has proven to be one of the most challenging, yet rewarding ones I have encountered in my teaching career.  With each year that has gone bye, I have considered myself to be a little bit better teacher than the year prior. I have been teaching in Zeeland for nearly twenty years and in that time, I have built up many resources to draw upon in instructing students.  Knowing that we would have iPads this year forced me (and many other teachers too I suspect) to re-examine how I go about doing some parts of my job.  It has been quite refreshing to go through filing cabinets, binders, folders, etc. of resources and decide what still is relevant and what is no longer useful material.  Thanks to bond issue money, I now have greater ease and ability to scan articles from magazines, newspapers, and supplemental text materials and create .PDF files that I can not only save, but share with students and other teachers has been positively impacted my teaching.  Students, with their iPads, are able to access this information daily and use it to help learn, collaborate, and reinforce concepts essential to becoming a capable 21st global citizens.  Certainly, the work is not done and another semester will soon begin.  Like Mike and Frank on American Pickers, I have more treasures to uncover and give new life to so that others may benefit.  Yes, if you didn't already know, I do teach social studies and like most social studies teacher, I am a pack rat.

Monday, January 9, 2012

iPad Workshops for Parents - Teachers - Administrators

The Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (13565 Port Sheldon Street, Holland, MI 49424) is hosting iPad workshops.

Workshops by OAISD Staff:
iPads for Parents
Cost: @15.00 a workshop (dinner included)

iPads for Educators

Workshops by Scott Meech
Guest presenter Scott Meech is the  Director of Technology in Downers  Grove, Illinois, District #58.  Scott is a champion for the transformative nature  of technology, changing teaching and learning from a teacher-centered paradigm into a constructivist student centered approach.  He loves helping teachers learn to use iPad applications to improve student learning.  He’s an advocate for helping administrators  become more productive with iPad tools.  Scott was co-creator and a regularly contributor to, an educational site for evaluating and promoting the use of iPad and iOS devices to improve teaching and learning.  Audiences across the country enjoy Scott’s upbeat personality and practical approach to technology integration

iPads for All Learners
$50.00 - Lunch provided. Eligible for .6 SB-CEUs

iPads for Administrators
$25.00 - Eligible for .3 SB-CEUs

Integrating the iPad in Special Education Environments
@25.00 - Eligible for .3 SC-CEUs