Students Will Find a Use

Categories: Philosophy, The Classroom
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Published on: May 19, 2011

If we put technology in students’ hands, they will find their own way to use it.

Today our band director sent me an example of students doing just that. A young lady with her own iPad 2 brings it to class every day. When the teacher put a grammar lesson on the board explaining the breakdown of sentence structure, she snapped a photo.

English lesson
A student's photo of a teacher's lesson

She then uploaded that photo to Facebook and tagged all of her friends from that class. Now they all have instant access to the teacher’s original notes at home. (And if they all had devices of some kind, they’d have it available in class, too.)

This is exactly what I would like to accomplish with a 1:1. We’re just barely starting to explore the possibilities, and we already have a student taking advantage of the same technology.

I would also argue this is a reason not to block Facebook outright. Yes, this functionality can be replicated with Edmodo or other services, but why reinvent the wheel? Why force the students on to more and more services if they’re willing to take advantage of something they use every day anyway?

This brings up another topic that came up in our District Improvement Team meetings: will the devices in a 1:1 just be a distraction?

I think this is a good example of how it won’t. More and more of our teachers have loosened their restrictions on iPads, iPods, and similar devices in their classrooms, and I have yet to hear stories of kids being disruptive with them. I have yet to be told we made a mistake in allowing these devices on our networks, or that a student was playing Angry Birds when he should have been taking notes, or even that a student uploaded all of his notes to his iPod and kept it in his lap during an exam.

Yes, there are going to be students who will be off-task and disruptive, but there are always going to be students who are off-task and disruptive. Should the few spoil it for the many?

Our pilot is about getting teachers on board. The students are waiting for us to catch up.

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