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Administrator, author and educator

Emily: I agree with you

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Emily:
I agree with you regarding your comments about teacher training. We have to feel confident in order to use what we learn.
I was also dumfounded about some of the teacher's attitudes regarding class control. I would say the same thing, if the students are "messing around" then they lose the privilege of using the device in class, but many teachers did not want to have to monitor the students so they either did not allow them to use the device or they let the students do what ever they wanted to on the device. Go figure.
Continued and sustained training is the key- PLC- are the way to go with this...

Ben Johnson
San Antonio, Texas

Currently, my school district

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Currently, my school district is trying to implement more technology in the classroom. Some teachers are for it and some are vehemently against it. I am one of the teachers who is for it. However, just as you stated above, we need teacher training in order to feel comfortable. I also feel that as to monitoring students, if you set your standards and rules, students know how to follow them. My thought is that if they are messing around, they lose the privilege to use their device in class. I also agree with Michele's comment about going to training and then getting crazy in the 1st week of school and not hearing about the tools again. It is critical that schools give us as teachers continuing and sustained training.

Edutopia community* (iPad

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Edutopia community* (iPad autocorrect issues!)

Hi Ben, First of all, I have

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Hi Ben,
First of all, I have to say that having joining the Edutopia committee only earlier today, I am thrilled to already have an opportunity to discuss something with someone else! I have a lot of respect for leaders who are willing to not only share their reflections on their own practices, but also to engage in a dialogue with others about those reflections and practices.

It is disappointing to learn that teachers did not take advantage of the virtual collaboration opportunity. In my role as a Literacy coach, I also find it quite difficult to encourage engagement and buy-in without building in specific requirements for teachers, but I still try to avoid it because--in my school at least--I have found that requirements like these put authentic momentum and buy-in (which it sounds like you are ready to create with your new ideas about implentation) at risk. I certainly understand your concern that teachers should not feel as if they can simply "opt out" of iPad use, but you will also want to discourage teachers from simply documenting and still opting out of actual practice.

That being said, I wonder if there are ways to help scaffold the requirement to account for varying levels of teacher comfort and readiness when it comes to the devices. Maybe teachers have the option to submit questions or reflections on their use of iPads each week, to start with, rather than their specific plans. This may also give you a better sense of who still requires more support or is encountering difficulties in implementing the devises. 

This also takes the pressure off in terms of presenting a perfect lesson plan, by emphasizing that the focus is on the integration of the technology into the plan, and that this is not being used as an opportunity to evaluate the teacher's lesson plan documentation skills. That might not be an issue in your district or school, but in ours we have teachers who are very nervous about sharing lesson plans as part of their professional learning, for fear that little things like the layout of the plan may become the centre of unwanted scrutiny and a distraction away from the desired learning.. 

In terms of frequency, maybe a short "check-in" (question or reflection) could be provided once a week, and actual plan, proposal, or summary of iPad use could be submitted once a month to department heads. This may also give teachers more time to collaborate with other teachers and gain some support in crafting lessons that they are proud and feel ready to "hand in".

Administrator, author and educator

Joanna: Thanks for the

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Joanna:

Thanks for the comment. Our school had a virtual space for sharing lessons, and the teachers did not use it. Actually, we had two virtual spaces that were unused, I believe, mainly because I did not require them to use at least one of them.

I can see what you are saying in that the teachers may feel pressured to provide the learning plans with ipad lessons. I thought once a week was an easy thing to fulfill and would not over burden the teachers, but also not restrict those teachers that would do more per week. Notice that i did not go into detail about how much the iPads would be used in the lesson, so if a teacher had them look something up on the internet, that would qualify.

I still feel that a definite number or goal for how many lessons will include the iPads is necessary because otherwise it will be impossible to measure the impact on teachers and students. The point is that one of the mistakes I made was allowing teachers to opt out and say, "Wands away."

How many lessons using iPads would you recommend as challenging but not overburdensome?

Ben Johnson
San Antonio, Texas

The only thing that I take

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The only thing that I take major issue with is the idea of requiring teachers to submit one lesson a week involving iPads. That doesn't set a positive tone of respect for teachers' professional development, IMO. What it says to teachers is that you don't trust them to take initiative on their own, and I think you may find a lot of teachers responding negatively to that idea, despite the fact that many other "mistakes" have been remedied in your other suggestions for an iPad implementation do-over. Maybe a good alternative would be creating a virtual space where teachers can choose to share those lessons with others to help them generate ideas for their own lessons. We definitely do need a careful, structured, and thoughtful approach to integrating new technologies into our classrooms, especially if doing so becomes increasingly expected by administration and the school board. "Let them have iPads" isn't really a sustainable pedagogy or leadership strategy, and I hope more administrators will acknowledge that, just as you have!

High School English teacher, graduate student

Lots of great technology

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Lots of great technology tools for the classroom exist, but if teachers don't have training and practice, it's difficult to implement those tools into formal leaning. And you're right that sending teachers to workshops to learn tools is just the beginning. Ongoing collaboration and opportunities to create something of value with the new tools is how we teach students. It makes sense to also provide these opportunities for teachers. I know I have attended workshops during the pre-planning week for new programs or tools, and then with the distractions of the 1st weeks of school with students and we never hear about the tools again. So thank you for your post. I hope the administrators in my school recognize the importance of training through practice.

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