aRTs Roundtable #19: Photo Apps


This week on the aRTs Roundtable we talk about Photo Apps. There is a thin line between art and music, the crossover is apparent in the apps we use for art and music. Photography apps have transformed how we take pictures and create new photos.

Show Host: Carol Broos

Show contributors:   Tricia Fuglestad and Brenda Muench

Show wiki: edreach.us

 


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aRTs Roundtable #17: Apps We Use Daily

 


This week on the aRTs Roundtable we talk to about the apps we use to simplify our teaching on our own mobile devices and computer. These apps have transformed how we teach the arts and organize our lives in the educational setting.

Show Host: Carol Broos

Show contributors:   Trisha Fuglestad and Jennifer Kolze

Show wiki: edreach.us wiki

 


 


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Contact us with any questions or comments- artsroundtable@edreach.us

MacReach Show #35: Apps for Professional Development

This week on MacReach: Kelly and I are joined by John Sowash to talk about some fantastic apps for professional development!

Show Host: Meg Wilson (@iPodsibiities)

Co-Hosts: Kelly Dumont (@KDumont) and John Sowash (@jrsowash)

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View the complete show notes here on the EdReach MacReach Wiki to see all the links, resources, and apps discussed in the show!



 

aRTs Roundtable #7: Productivity Arts Apps for the iPad and iPod Touch Device

 


This week on the aRTs Roundtable we discuss iPad and iPod Touch Device apps in the arts classroom that we use for productivity, sharing, and individual use. We also discuss how we upload and post to various websites using iPads, iPod Touch Devices, and iPhones.

Show Host: Carol Broos

Show contributors:   Trisha FuglestadBrenda Muench, and Jennifer Kolze

The complete show notes are now on the EdReach Wiki


 


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aRTs Roundtable #6: Create Apps for the iPad and iPod Touch Device

 


This week on the aRTs Roundtable we discuss iPad and iPod Touch Device apps in the arts classroom that we use to CREATE music and art. The mobile devices have transformed our classrooms with students creating pictures and composing music. Hear about must have apps for all art and music teachers.

Show Host: Carol Broos

Show contributors:   Trisha FuglestadBrenda Muench, and Jennifer Kolze

The complete show notes are now on the EdReach Wiki


 


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If you’d like to leave some feedback you can call us on our very own EdReach Comment line: That’s: (443) 93REACH.

MacReach Show #33: Wishing …and Expecting!

This week on MacReach: Kelly and I share out some of our favorite wish list items! Happy holidays from all of us here at MacReach… we wish you a very happy and healthy new year!

Show Host: Meg Wilson (@iPodsibiities)

Co-Host: Kelly Dumont (@KDumont)

Subscribe to the MacReach Podcast on iTunes

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View the complete show notes here on the EdReach MacReach Wiki to see all the links, resources, and apps discussed in the show!



 

5 Opportunities to Get iPods & iPads Into Your Classroom

Educators often question how they can acquire iPods and iPads to use in their own classrooms, especially when so many districts are experiencing serious budget crunches. Many feel that that it just isn’t possible because their districts don’t have the money or don’t believe mobile technology is worth investing in. I know how you feel; I have been there. And here’s my advice: stop waiting for the district, and start taking your own steps to make the change in your classroom on your own.

When I first began using iPods and iPads in the classroom, it was long before the touch-screen era. I started with a second generation click-wheel iPod with a gray screen and rather limited functions (audio, contacts, and calendars). My initial reason for using the iPod was because I needed  a portable audio player. It just so happened that the best solution was the iPod I was carrying around in my pocket. Unfortunately at the time, iPods were banned in my school district. So how did I go from using a single iPod in a district that didn’t allow the device to designing a 1:1 iPad district initiative? I’m a believer that if opportunity doesn’t knock, you should just start opening doors.

Here are five opportunities I took advantage of in order to start opening the doors to mobile learning in my classroom, and eventually in my district:

1. Use Your Own Device and Let Students Bring Their Own!  The first iPod in my classroom was my personal iPod (that I bought off eBay). The second iPod in my classroom was a student’s personal iPod. By using my personal device, and allowing students’ to use theirs, I was able to gather enough data to demonstrate to my district that we needed to re-evaluate the ban on mobile devices and begin to look at these as learning tools. Today, the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) model is becoming more and more popular with districts because it allows for student individualization and can alleviate some of districts’ financial obligations for having to purchase large quantities of mobile devices. While I understand that many districts still ban student-owned technology, it is a topic that educators need to start thinking about, as discussed in this EdReach article.

2. The DonorsChoose.org Website!  DonorsChoose’s slogan is “Teachers ask. You choose. Students learn.” It is as simple as that. DonorsChoose.org is a non-profit organization that connects public school teachers with people who want to support learning in the classroom. Teachers request materials for their students. Donors choose to help fund a project. Once a teacher’s project is funded and purchased, students and the teacher send thank you notes to the donors. This was the first way that I was able to acquire iPods specifically for classroom use. You can view my first proposal on DonorsChoose to get an idea of the process. A good tip is to advertise your proposal so more people know about it!

3. Ask for Donations!   Let’s face it, iPods and iPads have become incredibly popular consumer devices over the last few years. And with each new release of an iPod or iPad, thousands of individuals are upgrading. I know because I happen to be one of them. Each time I upgrade, I add my older device to my classroom collection. This led me to start asking for donations. Every year, at our first faculty meeting I ask my fellow educators and administrators to consider donating their old devices if they upgrade, and to help spread the word to anyone they know. I send out letters and emails to parents in the district, and also to my own family and friends. I put postings in the local libraries on the community bulletin boards. I ask for the district to include the request every now and then in the district’s weekly list serve. Even I’m surprised by the amount of devices that have been donated over the years. People have been more than happy to donate older devices when they know that they are learning tools for the classroom. Also, it can be a nice tax write off. Sometimes people give me their older broken iPods or iPhones. That’s fine with me because I just hand them off to a few tech-savvy students with access to YouTube and often they are able to fix them. And if the device can’t be easily fixed (or affordably fixed), you can give the device back to Apple and take advantage of their recycling program, which gives you a 10% discount on a new device… or possibly an Apple gift card if the device still has monetary value!

4. Write a Grant!  While it may not be your first choice due to the time and effort involved, grants are a fabulous way to get funding for technology in your classroom. There are numerous grants available for educators, but they can often be hard to find. Each school year, Tech & Learning attempts to make the process easier for educators by providing a calendar of grant opportunities for technology. They even include links to the grants, due dates for the grants, and great grant writing tips! You can download it in calendar form on their website.

5. Budget for Devices!  Plan ahead and start looking at working with your district to budget for devices in your classroom. Are there materials and equipment you can stop purchasing so that there is more money available for mobile devices? For example, since there are free apps available for calculators, notebooks, maps, and music/video players… can you stop purchasing these items? Often districts have money to spend, but they choose to spend it on items they have been purchasing for years. When educators start looking at these items as tools and not materials, they may realize that mobile devices offer many of the same tools with no additional cost to the device. You can read about how Wilmette School District 39 was able to purchase iPads by analyzing their budget and choosing to spend less on certain items.

 

While I know that not every opportunity listed above may be right for you and your classroom, I do think that it is important to know that there are indeed options out there to start the process. And while many of these options may take extra time and effort on your part, the pay off for your students can be quite significant. I am reminded of a commercial from the people at Becel, where a few individuals get ‘stuck’ on a broken escalator. Instead of choosing to walk up the escalator, they hang out and wait for someone to come and fix the escalator for them. While it is a humorous commercial, it is also a reminder to me that sometimes you don’t have to sit around waiting… you can just get up and do it yourself.

Mobile Reach #6 – iPod Classroom Management Tips

Mobile Reach Logo

In this episode, Chad & Tammy interview Junior High School Social Studies teacher David Freeburg regarding how he uses iPod Touch devices in his classroom with students.  We cover a handful of things to think about, tricks and tips.  We also share some brief Android tablet news and review some apps that we’ve been playing with.

Show Host: Chad Kafka (@chadkafka)

Co-Host: Tammy Lind(@TamL17)

Special guest: David Freeburg (@whizbang)

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The complete show notes are now on the EdReach Wiki.


Call us on our comment line!

If you’d like to leave some feedback you can call us on our very own EdReach Comment line: That’s: (443) 93REACH.

 

Who Needs Textbooks When You Can iAuthor Your Own iBooks?

With more and more app developers designing innovative apps like The Elements: A Visual Exploration and Our Choice, it is clear that traditional textbooks are no longer needed as mobile learning devices become common classroom tools. Students can easily have access to updated information in a variety of different ways, whether it is through text, images, audio, or video. There is an incredible amount of content-specific apps, podcasts (have you seen iTunesU?), and eBooks available. And of course we can’t forget the wealth of information available just by having access to the Internet. It is incredibly easy for educators to differentiate instruction based on learning styles and needs with these kind of technology tools in their teaching toolbox. Why not take it a step further and think about individualizing content for students? Or let students individualize their own content? You can create your own textbooks. Create your own novels. Create your own portfolios. Create your own projects. Create your own reports. Create your own books. Create your own incredible multi-media content and call it whatever you want.

It is actually quite simple to become a modern author these days by using an ePub template to create an iBook that can be viewed on an iPod touch, iPhone, or iPad in the free iBooks app. Recently, I was lucky enough to be a guest on a Classroom 2.0 LIVE show where I had the opportunity to demonstrate how quickly and easily you can create your own iBook with embedded audio, images, video, and web links to make a personalized multimedia creation of your choice. The fantastic people at Classroom 2.0 LIVE are kind enough to archive all their shows, so the webinar will be available on their website for any educator, administrator, student, or parent to watch at any time. Once you learn the process, the possibilities for creating your own mobile content are endless. You can also access all of the resources that were discussed and shared throughout the session; there are some excellent links in the LiveBinder about ePubs and iBooks. The summer is the perfect time to play around with technology, have fun, and think about how you could develop some really fun and creative learning experiences.

LiveBinder Resources: Excellent collection of resources shared during the session… all kinds of great links to ePubs, iBooks, and related topics!

Watch the “iAuthor an iBook” show

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xz2wzmWOpA&feature=youtu.be

10 Reasons Education Should Be EDcited About iOS 5!

Mobile learning is a popular topic in education right now, and Apple just took it to a new level with iOS 5, their newest operating system for the iPod touch, the iPhone, and the iPad. A new operating system means new features for iDevice users. Apple’s announcement of their upgraded operating system for iOS devices has started a new discussion with educators using them: how will these new features impact education? We are just beginning to learn about the new upgrades in iOS 5 that could dramatically impact schools, and personally, I am very happy that we have all summer to think about that question. There are of course many questions that will need to be answered for educators as we move forward, yet so far, it appears that iOS 5 will offer some fantastic upgrades for those who are using iPod touches, iPhones, and iPads as mobile learning devices, especially with the addition of the iCloud.

Here’s a quick look at ten features of iOS 5 that both educators and students should be really excited about:

  1. PC Free! Mobile really means mobile! Apple recognized the importance of allowing individuals to make an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch their ONLY device. No longer do you have to connect to iTunes in order to start using an iDevice. You can activate and begin using an iOS device without ever looking at a USB cable. For schools, this is a much needed, and appreciated, functional addition. The people who manage hundreds of these devices thank Apple for this welcomed component.
  2. Behind the Scenes Stuff. There are so many incredible behind the scenes features in the iOS 5 update: WiFi sync, over-the-air software updates, delta updates, background sync, and downloaded app access. WiFi sync will wirelessly sync with iTunes on your WiFi network when the iOS device is connected to a power source to charge, and it runs in the background so you can still use the device while it syncs to iTunes. Individuals will have access to music, movies, TV shows, home videos, and photos everywhere they want them. Over-the-air software updates will be wireless, and with delta updates: instead of replacing the entire operating system, the new features are added to the existing operating system. Software updates will be more seamless and significantly shorter, a huge advantage for all of us in education. Another great feature is the ability to access all downloaded apps from within the App Store on any iOS device. You can easily install any app you want from your library at any time. And let’s not forget about all the iCloud integration that has been announced. That’s a whole other blog post! I hope this type of innovation drives Apple to look at schools possibly having the ability to host a school-wide library that all devices can quickly and easily access. I’m sure that all of these behind the scenes features will drive mobile learning in ways we have yet to experience.
  3. Dictionary. An integrated dictionary is a hidden star in the iOS feature lineup. Reference tools are essential in the learning process, and having access to an easy to use dictionary is fantastic. Users will be able to define words in real time, which is an excellent learning tool. The ease of the built-in option will encourage students to discover the meaning of new words quickly.
  4. Notification Center and Reminders. Apple redesigned their notifications process and introduced the Notification Center. Notifications are now practical, informative, and organized. This means fewer distractions during a task, and a more manageable way to access important, customizable notifications; both clearly benefits in the classroom.  Apple is also adding an integrated task management system… that is location sensitive. Schools, businesses, and families will all love how easily they can configure the customizable reminders; they will be an excellent tool for all iOS device users, especially students learning how to manage multiple assignments, tasks, and appointments. The Notification Center and Reminders app will help students acquire crucial 21st century executive functioning skills.
  5. Safari. The Reader and Reading List features for Safari are much needed upgrades for the iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad. The Reader is a fantastic feature that allows users to access content in a very clean and organized format, as it removes ads and other website clutter. Students can choose to save articles for access at a later date using the Reading List, or they can choose to share the article via email or Twitter. Tabbed browsing will be available for the iPad, which will make moving between sites on the iPad much more efficient. So much of mobile learning happens on the Internet, it is great to see features that will improve how students can interact with that type of digital content.
  6. Twitter Integration. If you haven’t heard, Twitter is here to stay. Not only is it easy to tweet articles found on the Internet, the iOS 5 update makes it just as easy to tweet photos, locations, and YouTube videos. This feature can make Personal Learning Environments much more accessible to students, educators, and administrators. I even think we will see a rise in students using Twitter, just because the access will be so readily available.
  7. Camera & Photos Apps. I am a big believer that “the best camera is the one you have on you”, and the iOS 5 update offers some great enhancements to the camera and photos apps. The camera app is faster, includes auto exposure, auto focus, and the option to access the camera from the Lock Screen. Not to mention you can take pictures with the volume button. Another excellent upgrade for the new iOS is the ability to do basic photo editing like cropping, rotating, red eye removal, and enhancements. More and more, students are looking to use photo and video to document their learning experiences, and the camera and photo upgrades are very nice additions for that reason alone.
  8. Game Center. The iOS platform has become one of the world’s most popular gaming platforms, and there are some awesome upgrades in iOS 5 for education. The new Game Center encourages turn based games, friend discovery based on skill, game recommendations, and game downloads within the app. With more and more educators proving that gaming has an important place in education, the Game Center upgrades are a welcomed addition for many educators.
  9. Accessibility. New accessibility options will make iPod touches, iPhones, and iPads even more accessible to individuals with visual, hearing, and cognitive disabilities. Features like custom vibrations, VoiceOver improvements, and LED flashing for incoming calls and messages are a few key upgrades for many individuals. iOS 5 also adds customized keyboard shortcut options, allowing individuals to type common phrases quickly and accurately (i.e. “TY” for “thank you” or your initials to sign your full name, title, and other related signature items). For iPad users, the keyboard has been upgraded to allow for a split keyboard design; this allows individuals to type much easier with their thumbs.
  10. Airplay Video Mirroring for iPad 2. Anything you can do on your iPad 2 can be mirrored on an HDTV via Apple TV. You will be able to wirelessly, and securely, stream anything on iPad 2 to a big screen. This includes all apps, rotations, gestures, and video content. Yes, I understand that we as educators don’t have HDTVs in our classrooms right now… but this is a start. What this feature is an offer of hope, hope that we are moving towards having more opportunities to share wirelessly in the classroom, as we know the impact of this in education is huge. Like I said, these are certainly features we can at least get excited about!

Where is YOUR classroom?

Every day, I am an active participant in an amazing classroom that is filled with engaging and unique learning opportunities. I learn all kinds of information about a variety of different topics; it all depends on what I find interesting or necessary at the moment. I have access to an incredible wealth of credible resources, and I am given as much time as I need to synthesize information and determine how to best leverage it. I have opportunities to collaborate and learn with, and from, experts all over the world. I have the chance to participate in challenge based learning projects where I work to find solutions to a variety of real world problems, and I do it with individuals in locations that I have never been to. I work hard to publish content that I feel is important to share. I am allowed to be curious, and I am encouraged to be creative. Most importantly, the classroom is always changing and morphing into an even better, more efficient and personalized classroom.

You may be wondering where this amazing classroom is, and my response is unique given the time of day: at home, the gym, my car, the gas station, a school, a picnic table, a friend’s house, my back deck, a restaurant… and that is just a few of today’s locations. With the help of my iPhone and iPad, my classroom can be completely mobile, it can go wherever I go. That means that whenever I want, I can find information, validate it, synthesize it, communicate it, and use it to solve problems collaboratively. Since my classroom is not located within the confines of four walls in a specific building, I am able to learn more simply because I have more opportunities to do so.

So… if I can recognize that my own classroom is mobile, why am I still demanding that my students come and sit in a room to learn? Isn’t it time that educators start discussing how mobile learning devices can really change the educational experience for our students?

I am certainly not saying that mobile learning is not being discussed. In fact, it is currently one of the hottest topics with educators, including myself. Educators can’t seem to stop talking about how to use mobile learning devices in the classroom. But that is part of the problem, we keep talking about using mobile devices IN the classroom. It is a bit absurd to talk about mobile learning taking place in a classroom… unless your definition of a classroom has changed. Thanks to the many types of mobile technologies available today, I can now consider a classroom to be anywhere I can learn or gain experience. I am a huge advocate for using mobile learning devices because I get to experience their educational value on a daily basis in my own mobile classroom. Technology has without a doubt changed how I learn, what I learn, how much I learn, and of course, where I learn. And I am not alone.

I recently had the opportunity to be a part of the Mobile Learning Experience conference, where it was refreshing to talk with a variety of educators who are using technology to transform students’ learning experiences. There is a definite shift happening in education right now, or a ‘disruption’ as some might say. Graham Brown-Martin set the perfect tone for the Mobile Learning Experience with his keynote about disruption, innovation, and learning. His thought-provoking discussion about how disruptive technologies like social media, video games, the Internet, and mobile devices have changed every industry but education was eye-opening for many at the conference. Educators were either inspired or enraged as they thought about how to best answer Graham’s bold question: what would the “napsterfication of learning” look like? I know that I personally left the conference feeling like these disruptive technologies are not only great tools for students, but they are essential tools for students’ future success: disruption will drive student innovation, foster creativity, and offer new learning opportunities.

As educators, we need to embrace and encourage disruption in and out of our classrooms. We need to listen to students like Dan Brown and Travis Allen speak about how institutionalized education has failed them. We need to question what it really means to be educated in a world where facts are free. We need to rethink the location of our classrooms, and recognize the impact mobile devices actually have on the roles of school buildings and educators. We need to understand that the goal is to use technology to empower students so that they will change the world for the better.

Educators need to think about how we can give students the right tools, strategies, and experiences so that they can be the best students possible in their own classrooms, wherever those classrooms may be.

MacReach Show #11: iPhone Madness! …and Great Apple Resources

Kelly Dumont and Scott Meech join me for an episode filled with iPhone talk, Apple education resources, and tons of fun!

Mac News

Is Apple tracking you?

The white iPhone is finally here! ….does anyone care?

Tough Covers: How to protect your iPad from a 500ft drop out of a plane.

EdMac

There are so many great Apple education resources out there, we wanted to highlight a few of them:

Hottest Apps Used by Apple Distinguished Educators: App Reviews by ADEs

Apple Education Seminars and Events: seminars, webinars, and all kinds of other professional development (and most are free to attend!)

Apptivities: a website dedicated to the “Application of Apps!”

App Challenge

It was easy to come up with lots of ideas for our App of the Week! Here’s a hint… it’s quick, easy, and fun to use for many ages!

Macs for All

Quick access to Zoom on your iOS devices through the programmable triple-click home button… good stuff.

MacReach Show #10: Kids and Macs

Jonathan Furst and James Crawford join me this week to discuss how their students are using Apple technologies to make movies and create digital stories. Other topics discussed include:

EdCeptional Show #5: All About Sam

This week Anne Truger and the EdCeptional crew welcomed Special Educational Technology Specialist, Samantha Fecich!

Newswatch:
  • The AAC Institute has written a position statement on iDevices and AAC along with an AACtion Point titled “iPads, AAC & Children.”

Blogwatch:

  • AT resource provider who posts all things AT!
  • Sam’s cool tools for the classroom – Sam created this blog as a resource for educators and parents. The blog reviews apps and tools for the iPod Touch, Interactive whiteboard, laptops, and more. She reviews different technology that is tried and true. She will also give examples of how she utilizes this tool in the classroom.
  • http://adaptions4kidz.blogspot.com/ – This is all about helping kids with different abilities live life to the fullest. This blog stars Junior, and shows examples of how to adapt materials and activities for kids with significant needs. She has adapted games, skateboarding, and even basketball for junior!
  • http://paulhami.edublogs.org/ – Blog about educational supports and Assistive Technology devices/tools to support UDL
  • KB….Konnected – Karen B. – art, reading, & writing teacher in Chicago Public School system.
  • SLP Sharing – Eric Sailers – the co-creater of artix-pix and a speech therapist who showcases tech in his therapy sessions… Includes wonderful resources for parents and educators.

On the Radar: Resources, Tools and Functions

  • Mrs. Hurley’s ESL – Great resource for teachers and young learners – a variety of games to use on the smartboard and already made notebook templates.
  • QR Codes

Special Considerations:

  • EdCeptional diigo group — A newly created Diigo group for EdCeptional listeners to follow that allows them access to all of the show links in one location!

MacReach Show #9: Mobile Learning at Its Best!

Last week’s Mobile Learning Experience 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona was a fantastic conference filled with educators learning about how to use iPods touches, iPhones, iPads, and other mobile learning devices to change education for the better. In this episode, Tony Vincent joins me to discuss the Mobile Learning Experience, QR codes, a few of our favorite Apple technologies, and so much more…

 

 

MacReach #7: The Great iPad Debate

This week’s episode is filled with great stuff! After a super crazy week, I felt compelled to start MacReach by commenting on the amazing power of PLNs and Twitter.

Other topics covered in this week’s episode:

 

iThink iCan: Using Mobile Learning Devices to Individualize Instruction

If you want to make something popular these days, it seems like all you have to do is throw a little ‘i’ before your product or idea. Clearly, Apple has expertly created this hype with their iconic mastery of product branding. How did the ‘i’ become so popular? The consensus is that the original lowercase ‘i’ that first showed up in Apple’s iMac stood for ‘Internet,’ yet many people have come to associate the ‘i’ with the word ‘individual.’ It makes sense to me: Apple’s iPod, iPhone, iPad, and iLife products can all be highly personalized for the user. That personalization is the reason I fell in love with my first iPod so many years ago: I could carry my entire personal music library with me to listen to whenever and wherever I wanted. It was a powerful idea that quickly translated to my classroom due to the personalized tools and resources students could have access to, wherever and whenever they needed them. Mobile learning devices like the iPod and iPad have absolutely transformed how I use technology to accommodate exceptional students of all abilities. I have become an advocate for mobile learning devices because of the plethora of opportunities they offer students in the classroom. And it seems that I am not the only one that feels that way.

Last year’s release of the iPad helped make mobile learning devices a very trendy topic of discussion in education. Schools quickly jumped on the iBandwagon in droves that Apple certainly wasn’t expecting (hence the late arrival of the Volume Purchase Program). Twitter exploded with questions from educators about how to incorporate the new technology into their classrooms. The Blogosphere filled up with list after list of “Best Apps to (fill in the blank).” Wikis were created to post lessons, tutorials, and experiences. This abundance of new resources is important, valid growth and I’m more than thrilled that educators want students to have access to these devices in their classrooms. I believe that there are numerous ways that these devices can help educators be better educators, and help students be better students; and I think that we can start to leverage technology in schools to be more than just an activity. It is my hope that the all of these “i” conversations going on will spark a greater interest in using technology to help individualize and improve instruction for all students.

In the field of special education, the word ‘individualize’ is not an option, it is the law. As a special educator, I look at students’ strengths and weaknesses and use that information to create an Individualized Education Plan that accommodates their individual learning styles and needs. Everyday I experience how that plan helps to create just the right lesson, with just the right technology tools to produce a successful learning opportunity for the student. Personalizing instruction for students creates a very powerful learning environment, and it is one that should be experienced by all students. So, why are we not doing this for every student?

One of the most obvious reasons schools are not currently providing personalized plans of instruction for every student is the sheer overwhelming difficulty of the task. We have high expectations of teachers: we ask them to deliver quality instructional programs that meet the different needs of students, to plan and execute engaging lessons, and to collect meaningful data and assessments so that they can start the cycle all over again. The demand to do that for a classroom of 25+ students viewed as individuals, and not a group, can simply be outside the capacity of one teacher. How can teachers possibly be expected to plan the perfect lesson for every student, every day? How can schools provide enough teachers and resources to meet the individual needs of every student? Will there ever be enough time to identify every student’s individual needs and still provide quality personalized instruction for each one? How much will it cost and where will the money come from? These are valid questions that will require schools to think outside the traditional classroom experience for solutions.

Technology may not be the answer, but it certainly is an idea. How can the hype of mobile learning devices translate into a meaningful classroom tool? How can schools start leveraging technology to better plan personalized instruction for students? How can technology help collect data on students so teachers can ensure that all students are successful learners? How can teachers use technology to plan for each student individually and still have time do provide a high level of quality instruction? How can technology help provide personalized learning experiences? These are all ideas worth exploring, and one school is doing just that.

In New York City, a pilot program called the School of One is exploring customized educational programs for students of all abilities. The program is focused on an individualized learning platform that is made up of a student profile, a series of high quality lesson banks, and a learning algorithm. The algorithm helps to match the student’s needs with an appropriate lesson, in an appropriate modality, for every student. The overall goal is to use technology to allow teachers more time to provide quality and effective instruction and at the same time offer students more opportunities to be successful learners. There is an interesting podcast on Freakonomics Radio about how the School of One is a customized experience like Pandora Radio, entitled “How is a Bad Radio Station Like the Public School System?” While the School of One relies heavily on technology to identify individual student needs and daily progress, it is important to note that it doesn’t mean students are using an electronic device all day long; students have the option to learn in a modality that works for them, whether it is through a one-to-one tutor, a hand-ons demonstration, or cooperative group learning activity (among other options). The School of One’s individualized learning platform is a fantastic example of how technology can lead to a change in how we customize education for all students.

How many educators are thinking like the School of One? How many schools are just using technology as an activity, and not a tool? With the release of iPad 2 right around the corner, I hope that schools are looking past all of the “i” hype and are trying to find innovative ways to use mobile learning devices to help individualize instruction for all students.

MacReach Show #4: ADEs and the Evolution of Podcasting

This week, the MacReach show is Appletastic! We discuss what it means to be an Apple Distinguished Educator with Andy Crozier and Kelly DuMont. With their help, we then try to answer the question: is podcasting dead? Also covered in this week’s episode with Scott Meech and myself:

We hope you join in and share your thoughts about this week’s episode… is podcasting really dead???