How much PD do we need to be ready for one2one learning with iPads? What works best at CIS?

This year at CIS, we have spent almost 20 hours engaging in the practice of using our iPads.

How have we done?

With 35 teachers attending various sessions, more and more teachers are truly engaged, excited, and ready for the total iPad experience that will engage our students in August.

What PD ideas have worked?

  1. Apple iPad training on specific apps- like Keynote, Pages, and iMovie worked really well. All got to practice. All could see application of these apps into their teaching environment.
  2.  APD Training: Oscar Stringer, APD consultant, visited our school for an entire day of Q and A. This worked. An educator with “real experience” was exactly what our teachers needed. The teachers asked questions, cleared doubts, and asked for app advice. Oscar was clear, direct, and extremely knowledgeable. The teachers’ appreciated his insight. To me as the iPad enthusiast onsite, I enjoyed seeing Oscar in this leadership role. He uncovered and discussed ideas that I never would have thought of. His style was refreshing and beyond the beginner level. Most CIS teachers were ready for this.
  3. So far teachers have enjoyed PD that deeply looks at an app or tool, rather than general discussions. Optional and Volunteer Tech Talks are quite successful with low pressure on teachers. Those that attend pass on the learning, when they chat with their peers about their struggles and their successes. During these tech talks, we have discussed Wikispaces,Edmodo, Socrative, Dropbox, Voicethread, and Annotateneu.
  4.  Private discussions about particular subject areas and with “new” teachers has been vital to the PD process, as sometimes individual attention with quality chat and brainstorming is necessary.
  5. We started using WebDAV with a Mac mini server this week. This time, all teachers were asked to follow a keynote or pdf of instructions to help them set-up their WebDAV folder. They were not allowed to go to see our Technology Director. And guess what, they were all successful. Now with WebDAV, file transfer is so fast and sharing was so easy. All were impressed. After giving everone a week to install the folders and get them working, we met and spent 45 minutes sharing and exploring ways to move files, pics, movies, and pdfs. Moving in and out of our shared and private folders on the WebDav was useful and practical for all. This will be great as we start creating content for the new school year. Students will use the WebDAV next year too. A great way to submit work.

Unfortunately, discussions about pedagogy and one to one learning have been less engaging, as most at CIS are focused on the “how” rather that the “why” right now. CIS teachers know that going one to one is good. That it is the future of education. CIS teachers are being pushed to think about the “why”, but this seems a longer process and perhaps one that will move forward more once the students have their iPads too.

Do we need to focus on “why” too? What do you think?

 

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