Monday, June 9, 2014

School's Out for Summer!

We all know the song...  You likely sang it in your head while you read this blog title...  "School's Out for Summer!"  So what does a person such as myself do with this new-found freedom?

My first few days of Summer Vacation were spent playing.  But it isn't what you think...  I wasn't playing tennis, playing cards, playing in the dirt, playing shadow tag...  I was playing with my iPad.  This summer, my focus is to look at the iPad in terms of its possibilities.

As one of the Technology Support Teachers for Dublin Schools, our task this summer is to hand out new technology to a lucky handful of teachers.  (More teachers will get new stuff in the fall.)  We are changing the game a bit...  In exchange for the new device, teachers will attend training so that they are getting the most out of this shiny, new device.

Our classes are blended...  3 hours face-to-face, followed by an rigorous independent online day, followed by another 3 hour face-to-face time together.  I am teaching the iPad workshops this summer.  I am a big fan of the iPad.  It is not only a great device for consuming information, but also a powerful tool for productivity, creativity, and collaboration.  So many people feel like they are rock stars with the iPad already, but they have likely just scratched the surface of its abilities.

iPad goals:
  1. In order to the get the most out of the iPad, it is important to select and master a handful of "power apps."  Learn what each app is good at, and what its limitations are.  Selecting the right tool for the job is sometimes the hardest part.  As far as apps go...  less is more!
  2. Master the file management and workflow.  Between the Open In command, the Share button, and a few apps and cloud services, managing files is possible.  It takes some practice though!
  3. Embrace the power of the iPad!  Yes, the iPad has some limitations when compared to a computer.  But its benefits make up for that!  Apps that give you the ability to add images, text, annotations, and draw/paint give you much more flexibility than a computer when creating.
  4. Think outside the box.  The iPad can do a lot of the same things as a computer, but don't get stuck in trying to fit a a round peg into a square hole.  Change the way you think about instruction, and embrace the new directions you can go with an iPad.
My next few blogs will focus on the Power Apps I mentioned.  Stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

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