Let’s state the obvious: Paul Hamilton is a genius. He spoke about rivalry between countries and how he doesn’t like to admit that people from New Zealand are good at iPad things. Well Paul, we will be feeling the same way when we report back on how you completely dominate all things awesome in iPads. Such a treat to hear a teacher who knows. If you’re a teacher you know too. We just know, you know?
Basically Paul came to share his wealth of knowledge, his tips on integration and creativity as well as looking past the App shop and rather embracing what the kids need and actually want. He began with an idea I truly believe needs to be advertised more in society: Teachers are important. Teachers are needed. Teachers won’t be replaced by technology.
“Any teacher that could be replaced by a machine should be” – Authur C Clark
John Hattie did some research and found that the most important factor for learning is the teacher/student relationship. The second being feedback. The iPad is making feedback easy, relevant and meaningful to today’s generation. However we need to actually USE these powerful pieces of metal. As I mentioned in my previous post about the SAMR model, the goal is to get to redefinition. This also slots in nicely with higher order thinking as required by Blooms/Andersons taxonomy. But how do we do this?
Paul spoke about different app functions. The ones that are the latest fad but don’t really add meaningfully to a lesson. They are a nice to have, but sort of hang around the bottom of the blooms chart at the moment. For instance, how beneficial is Augmented Reality in a classroom? He gave us some practical examples but we are still in the early stages of using AR to it’s full potential. SO what do we look for? How do we sift through the GAZILLIONS (literally) of apps that are out there while we try comply with the multiple roles of a teacher/wife/mother/father/ child/friend/basic functioning human? It’s all a little daunting.
That’s why we have Champions.
Tech champions who sort and sift and engage with the kids in order to find the 4 or 5 apps that add to your school. Paul listed some factors for good apps:
- Good tech removes itself so you can focus on the learning.
- Humans are conceptual beings, we learn through experiences.
- Good apps should create, open, save and are measurable.
He listed the few that we all love and know like Book Creator, Explain Everything, the camera (first time in teaching we’ve had this access attached to a device) and iMovie. He also blew our minds when he demonstrated how his school had used Minecraft and a similar game called Topia to create ecosystems, water systems, explore cause and effect, create eBooks and show an excellent understanding of the curriculum. These are games, games our kids adore, dream about, fill the better part of their break time discussioning and he made them meaningful and educational.
What. A. Legend.
I think it’s so important that as teachers we get to network and attend these courses where we see how the rest of the world is also having their ups and downs. I always feel so motivated to be amazing (or at least try) after attending the workshops from Think Ahead. It’s also a pro that these courses are free because then we can all attend and can save our teacher development budget for more cake. Whoop! So don’t be lazy, no one really wants to waste a perfectly lovely Thursday afternoon but you will feel a 100 times more confident and inspired if you do. I’m gonna be quiet now but before I do I want to leave you with something that Paul said to us, “What if they never find their passion because they are never exposed to it?”
Hey iPads, it took me a little while but I think I found you.