Technology Bits & Bytes

The View from the Summit

by: Carla Isenhower, Academic Technology Integration Specialist
November 18, 2014 

On a daily basis Academic Technology Integration Specialist, Carla Isenhower, helps faculty members use technology effectively in teaching and learning.  In the beginning of November, she went to the iPad Summit in Boston.  Here are her thoughts from the Summit...

The overwhelming theme at the iPad Summit in Boston was change - change in teaching methods, classroom focus, and learning spaces.  The educational world is for the most part still utilizing the same pedagogies established decades and decades ago:  rows and desks in a static classroom where the teacher was the single source of information. One of the presenters at the iPad Summit phrased it beautifully when he said we need to "encourage active engagement with a changing world rather than passive gazing in a classroom."

When we think of the future into which our students will graduate, we realize we must introduce some important new literacies into their education.

Digital literacy is needed to ensure our students are competent in finding, evaluating, and sharing information.

Our students should develop media literacy by using digital tools to create and publish. Creating digital products such as videos, websites, games, and books develops organizational, public speaking, and critical thinking skills. 

In addition to the traditional sources of information, it is important for students to acquire global literacy by collaborating with students and experts around the world.  While these literacies are an integral part of the 21st Century Learning framework, it was interesting to learn how important the use of iPads can be in teaching these literacies.

To better teach these new literacies and better engage students, the standard pedagogy must evolve to fit the educational goals. Teachers need to shift their roles from lecturers to learning coaches (flipped classroom).  Students must be coached to become sophisticated self learners who can independently create, communicate, and collaborate. 

The focus of the classroom needs to shift from lectures and worksheets to creating, publishing, and sharing. Finally, we must move away from the "rows and desks" classroom and toward more active learning spaces. These learning spaces can be anywhere - inside the classroom with more conventional spaces and furnishings, just outside the school building in a common area, farther outside the school at the zoo, museum, or medical center.

Probably the most important thing I learned at the iPad Summit is that Presbyterian School is headed in the right direction.

We have teachers embracing the flipped classroom.

We have students using digital tools to create a wide variety of digital products. 

We have classrooms that have modified the rows and desks to include active learning spaces.

We have teachers who take advantage of the neighborhood in which we live to create active learning spaces at the museums, theaters, and medical center. 

We have the future in sight and our students in mind as we navigate this changing world.

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