Now that the data has been sorted and organized, I thought I would take a look at the copious notes I took during the survey. In many ways, this was more useful than the actual questions as people had a venue for expressing their thoughts and opinions.
I have parsed the comments into a few categories:
- Attitudes: the frame of mind people had that either helped or hindered their exploration of the iPad.
- Constraints: external barriers in the way of implementing the iPad in the classroom.
- Classroom: the disconnect between current teaching practices and the use of tech as well as the actual physical classroom.
- Student Behaviour: the big kahuna of complaints, comments, etc.
There will definitely be some overlap, but I will try to address each of these categories in subsequent posts.
1. “I have no time to explore”
This is the big one. Many teachers feel like they need more time to explore how to use the iPad, that there is not enough time set aside for professional development. They want to know which apps to use, how they can enhance their classes and engage their students but don’t feel like they have time to try things out.
Here are some quotes from my notes:
“I have no prep time so I am using existing materials”
“I haven’t been shown and I don’t have time”
“I am very happy to do anything someone suggests to me but I don’t put aside much time to explore.”
“I don’t feel like I have time to play with stuff and see how it works before class.”
“I have not had time to learn how to use the iPad. I spend all my time marking.”
I hear this a lot. And though I sympathise with the fact that teachers are very busy, that there job is by no means done once they leave the classroom, I also find it frustratingly defeatist. As well, many people seem to be under the impression that last year when I started this blog (in September 2011 when we first got the iPad) I had scads of time to devote to exploring. I would like to debunk that myth right now.
When we first got the iPads, I made a commitment to learn something new about it everyday.I was not sold on the iPad- I couldn’t see how it could be more than a glorified textbook, and at the time that wasn’t even possible as publishers are very slow to come out with a working model for online textbook purchasing. I know myself enough to know that I would never understand unless I tried it. Hence this blog- it was simply meant to document the experience of a neophyte. So I put aside 15 minutes of my day (granted- sometimes it took longer). Were these 15 minutes I had just lying around?
In my experience, time expands to fit the tasks you have to do.I just added it to my extensive to-do list, which looks like this:
That is why I chose the tagline for my blog: If I can do it, so can you. Since doing the survey, I have made weekly appointments with certain teachers where we work through a problem, a workflow or I show them an app. Did I have time in my regular schedule for this kind of one-on-one session?
I make time. It doesn’t have to be much- Five minutes, ten minutes a day, ten minutes a week. The question I would concentrate on is how can this make your life easier- what is it that you currently do in the classroom that can be made better by the iPad? For example – you want to know how to mark your students’ papers on the iPad. Start looking at apps that let you write on PDFs.
Or do what I did just now- I thought I saw a track changes in Pages earlier on today.
Two seconds later:
My comments are in blue:
Here is a way to mark a student’s dictée they did on the iPad and emailed to you. You mark it up with your comments and send it back to them. That took me all of five minutes to ask the question, wonder if you could do it in Pages and then figure it out. I repeat- it doesn’t take much.
Okay. I have used up my 15 minutes ranting about no time and now, ironically don’t have time to go through the other attitudes… I guess that will have to wait until tomorrow when I have crosses some other stuff of my list!