Today I went to SAGE in Flin Flon (Special Area Groups in Education conferences). My session was titled Ipads in the Classroom.
Today's session was enlightening to the fact that from kindergarten to grade 12 most of us would like to use ipads. Some of us are lucky enough to have pods of them in our classrooms. Some of us are struggling to use just one. Others are successfully using one as a teaching tool and are ready to make the transition to a pod so the kids can get their hands on them. And then some of us are still just a little bit scared, or maybe not convinced that it is the way to go.
What it boils down to is the money and the value placed on technology. I am grateful that I work in a school division that embraces technology and has jumped on the technology band wagon. I was thrilled to hear that the high school has nearly 20 ipads and uses them in all department areas from phys ed to mathematics, art to ELA. And then I was SHOCKED to hear that they do not have restricted access to purchasing apps. A $100 itunes card is placed on to the account, when the money runs out another one is purchased. The vice principal was supportive of her staff's judgement when it came to purchasing apps. No team meetings, no needing to justify the value of it.... just blind faith that if the teacher feels it has educational value, then it must.
Let's face it... when do we sit down to surf for apps? Likely at home on our own time when we have no way of getting a 99 cent purchase okayed! Or on the fly when we find what we had been looking for and need it for tomorrows lesson! New apps are being created by the millisecond. At my school we have had no access to new apps since mid last school year. The new apps I have are because I have made a list with the resource teacher and when we have a $20 list, she buys a card from her budget and we quickly spend the $20 on our selections. Not convenient or practical! I definitely think our tech committee needs to deal with this situation and come up with a plan.
The apps are just a small piece of the money puzzle though. I am already thinking ahead to how I am going to function in my classroom when term one is over and my turn with the pod is over. What about the profiles that the students have been working through on Teach Me Grade One? What about my writing projects in pictello and our saved ibooks? How do I go from being such a techy class to not? What about our guided reading centers? Am I going to miss the pod - you bet . Is there money for more ipads - I hope so!
Today I spent the day with 2 presenters that were passionate about technology. Their enthusiasm came through in their presentation and it was exciting to be in a room with people who are as "tech geeky" as me!
Their words of wisdom were "If you want the tech stuff - bug your administration for it and if you work here (the high school) come see me, we'll find a way to get it". Those are the words I want to hear:)