Teacher iPad Survey Part 5: Attitudes Concluded: There’s No Despair Here…

If you’ve read the last couple of posts you might be under the false impression that our staff labour under a dark, ominous cloud of pessimism. It is not the case. I thought I would conclude the attitudes section of this Post-mortem with some of the positive comments I received about integrating tech in the classroom:

“Technology makes the class dynamic. If they have a question they will try to answer on their own instead of relying on me.”

“The grade sevens use it everyday from writing, to filming to showing stuff on screen.”

“The students respond well if you start using technology they have never seen before that has an impact. They have the ability to suck it up so fast because button pushing is now in their DNA so when you bring something new it excites them. You have to put these equipments in kids’ hands because that is the environment they are going to work in.”

“I am comfortable and %100 on board with the idea but a little less comfortable with the implementation.”

“I am very comfortable [with using tech] and by tech I mean all sorts and by comfortable I mean I am willing to try stuff even if it fails.”

Though many of the staff may not yet feel comfortable with the tool or feel like they know enough about it, they all had projects they would like to implement, things they would like to try. The following quotes are from a range of staff- not just those who have embraced the iPad:

“It would be good to have a list of apps that would compliment the program.”

“Would love to talk to Dan and the English teachers about what we can do with Apple TV.”

“Would like to get the kids to blog about math.”

“Would love to make iBooks instead of giving them all notes.”

“I have work to do in terms of the way I am thinking about the classroom.”

“I have no problem trying to learn it. Most things are made to be user friendly if you take the time to learn it.”

I think that the more concrete, subject specific examples we give on how the iPad can be used effectively in the classroom , the more we enable the sharing of ideas between teachers, the more those of us comfortable with the technology make ourselves available to those less comfortable as one on one resources, the more the hindering attitudes will recede back into the darkness whence they came.

Sorry- went a little Lord of the Rings there…

gandalf_vs_balrog

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Teacher iPad Survey Part 3: Attitude #1- I don’t have time

Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 1.27.25 PMNow 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.

ATTITUDES:

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?

Umm, no.

 

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:

photoThat 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?

Umm, no.

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:

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My comments are in blue:

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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!