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Education’s going mobile

McGraw Hill isn’t the only organization that is banking on the 2012-2013 going mobile:

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Do you feel the earth moving?

Do you feel the earth moving?

McGraw Hill already has a line of five K-12 textbooks for the iPad 2 through iBooks 2 and over 50 iPad textbooks for higher education and the professional market through an app from partner firm Inkling, into which McGraw Hill Education has heavily invested.

All of McGraw Hill’s iPad textbooks come alive thanks to Inkling’s interactive features such as built-in videos, audio, flash cards and 3D models. (Rival publisher Pearson also offers four books with similar interactivity for the device.)

Times they are a changing!

And schools are behind again

Schools are finding themselves on the other side of spending thousands of dollars on interactive whiteboards and now there is an interactive whiteboard that each student can hold in his or her hand rather than 25 students crowding around one.

Who ultimately ends up on top has huge implications for educational technology leaders, who must determine which company is the best fit for their needs, and at a cost their districts can afford in still-difficult budget times. Complicating those decisions are changes in the technological landscape that are raising questions about the long-term educational relevance of interactive whiteboards. Do classrooms really need them in the age of iPads?

And schools are behind again.

GoSoapBox: A way for quiet students to speak up?

If you are wondering whether mobile devices have a place in your classroom, consider GoSoapBox:

I think most people would say that the Confusion Barometer is the most innovative feature. Students can indicate when they are confused with the click of a button, and the teacher sees a graphical representation, showing the trend in the number of confused students over time.

Is that something that would help your classroom?

Would this let students who are more reserved speak up rather than sit back and pretend that they understand?

Have you tried it?

What do you think?

No wonder students are confused

Paul Thomas makes an excellent point here.

Paulo Freire makes a distinction between “authoritarian” (“Do as I say, not as I do” and “Do as I say although I have never done it”) and “authoritative” (Let me guide you to becoming a writer because I am a writer”). And this is where I now see why authority fails.

Thomas cites this attitude in regard to leadership and decision making in schools, but there is another disconnect where this attitude prevails.


Teachers use their phones and mobile devices as time keepers and to stay connect to their loved ones throughout the day at many schools, but have a strict no cell phone policy for students.

Don’t students have lives and loved ones to stay connected to as well? Haven’t we all been in a situation where we needed to be contacted immediately for some reason or another?

And yet the cell phone policy at most schools still remains strictly, “Do as I say, not as I do.”

No wonder students are confused.

Opening Your Classroom

As high schooler, I was taught that websites were not a good resource when writing a research paper. That was 10 years ago and I still hear teachers arguing that same point:

I have tended to be wary of students using websites in research.  My experience has been that students who rely heavily on websites tend to write pretty superficial work, because the websites that they use are pretty superficial.

When website research is not even considered to be a reliable research method, then teachers close their doors to having meaningful conversations about digital literacy. Students are very quick and figure new platforms and apps very quickly, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t need guidance to find reliable academic resources.

Because websites and social media have not been a part of their classrooms for so long, students have come to view them as personal entertainment. In reality, they are holding powerful computing devices.

Let’s open our classrooms and help students see how powerful these devices really are.

Apple Education Announcement Spreading

More and more sites and blogs are talking about the Apple announcement that will concern education on January 19. The only statement from Apple is that the announcement will be about education and textbooks.

While I anxiously await for the announcement, I tend to agree with Ian Quillen who suggests:

The bigger question, according to Mashable, is whether Apple’s new venture—in whatever form—will succeed.

Past evidence certainly suggests it will. Apple already has a wide swath of devotees in education who can fairly be categorized as fiercely loyal. More narrowly, Apple’s most recent game-changer, the iPad, has had greater success proliferating the education market than any other single device by any manufacturer in recent memory. And as Mashable reminds us, the same storyline generally holds true in Apple’s other endeavors, whether it be music, cinema, or telecommunications.

Apple has laid the foundation for the quick and early adoption of whatever they suggest by donating the largest number of computing devices and programs like one to one.

When this breaks, we better all have our running shoes on to try to keep up!

Individualized Experiences

When I was trying to work on implementing a one-to-one program with iPads at my school, people often asked me why iPads.

After answering this question numerous times, I resulted to this

It creates a unique individual experience.

And that’s the gist of it.

It’s not about the iPad or the technology behind the iPads. People fall in love with using an iPad because they discover that one app that saves them time or offers organization in a way they desperately need it.

For me, as a teacher of ancient history last year, it was the History: Maps of the World app and TimeLine app that compared events from different regions of the world. After several unsuccessful attempts to explain the difference between counting in BCE and CE, students manipulated the TimeLine app and said, “Oh I get it! It counts down and then counts up.”

This happens to fit beautifully into the argument for individualizing curriculum rather than the pressure to standardized curriculum.

To adopt a one-to-one iPad program is defying the current political pulse of the educational policy and yet schools are still doing it.


Because they recognize this is where learning is headed. This is the future of education.

Is the world of education ahead of affiliate marketing again?

Keeping in Touch


In preparing for my first Affiliate Summit, Geekcast has become an essential weekly podcast. The discussion this week started with business cards and whether they were old school or not.

They argue that the card can help you recall someone’s name or company:

What was that guy’s company name? The card will help me remember the business with the lettering or the design of something

I understand their reasoning, but business cards have never been a part of the teaching profession as a means of idea exchange and have actually been associated with administration level positions rather than teachers.

I never considered bringing business cards to Affiliate Summit because of my teaching background and still have managed to keep in touch with teachers from a number of different districts and disciplines.

Maybe the teaching profession is actually ahead of the business world for once!


Unlimited Access

Should unlimited access between teachers and students through social media be restricted?

School administrators acknowledge that the vast majority of teachers use social media appropriately. But they also say they are increasingly finding compelling reasons to limit teacher-student contact. School boards in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia have updated or are revising their social media policies this fall.

These interactions could result in more bad press for teachers and schools


these interactions could change students’ lives.