I witnessed a discussion on Twitter today, working out how to link an iPad to an interactive
whiteboard. I have to say that this is insanity. The concept of linking a touch sensitive device to a touch sensitive device is lunacy. There is a place for an iPad to replace a podium presentation tool in a large lecture theatre, allowing speakers to be more mobile, and this can be achieved with some ‘jiggery pokery’ and an apple TV, as I understand this, it is viable as a one off solution but not as an enterprise solution for a large organisation. An iPad can be run in a wired fashion through a projector, but to play that onto an IWB is slightly missing the point. iPads are personal devices and have a significant role to play in the future of teaching and learning, IN THE HANDS OF THE LEARNER.
My explanation as to why begins with a film from Monty Python. This was suggested to me by a student @JCBarrington in his blog ‘Monty Python as an Analogy for the poor use of ICT in the classroom’ He spotted a killer link between Python and the use of technology that I had forgotten.
We must guard against spotting the next shiny gadget and finding tenuous way to justify it. This is the tail wagging the dog.
I expanded on this, pulling together Bloom’s digital taxonomy and some material from the BSF programme which is soon to disappear following the ‘Great Cull of 2010’. The film ‘e-words for ICT and classroom creativity’ by Martin Blows, who developed the thinking behind this is well worth watching and downloading while it is still available.
My version, ‘ICT and Bloom’s Taxonomy’ is available here.
The thinking is that there is a rubric for evaluating if the use of technology is effective and adding value:
Exchange: Much use of IWB could be perfectly well done with an OHP and some Acetates, this rig costs £200, much less that the total cost of the IWB + PC + Projector.
Enrich: The projector and PC can be used to enrich children’s experiences by providing a wider range of film and activities to enrich a learning event. The IWB has no part in this. Do not kid yourself that any child learns anything by coming to the front and revealing a word. You only need the projector and PC.
Enhance: Again the PC and projector can be used to great effect to provide experiences using Google Earth and other modelling or simulation activities to enhance the learning in a way impossible without the technology.
Now comes a change from technology being the lever to pedagogy being the lever.
Extend: If you provide the children with a compelling problem and then ask them to collaborate to solve it using the IWB then they will find their learning is extended and challenged and they end up Empowering themselves to try harder and more involving tasks. These must require a visual/spatial element to capitalise not he functionality of the board. (think CSI).
We must always challenge ourselves to look at the impact on learning of a new technology. We have been guilty of buying machines that go ping, not choosing the right tool for the right job. ‘It went well’ is not good enough a justification, nor is ‘the children enjoyed it.’