iPads in Education

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iPads in Education

Many schools are jumping on the 1 to 1 iPad wagon. Is your school? iPads in education – especially in elementary education is a big thing these days. And the are not toys! The thousands of apps that are available stimulate learning and collaboration in a proven way.

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Should your school implement ipads in education?

It is an exciting time, but are your teachers prepared for this technology revolution and ready to embrace it in their classrooms? Teachers may be anxious about what it will take to turn this versatile iPad into a classroom tool. A true leader in the classroom will embrace this and to help – refer to this article One iPad Per Child. I think will turn most skeptics into believers.

iPads in education – who can help you get started?

Australia has done a great job in making use of technology and particularly the use of iPads in Education. Start with this link to find more information http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/teachers/support/Pages/classroom.aspx. The Victoria Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has put together a phenomenal Getting Started guide for learning with the iPad in a classroom setting. This article is packed with strategies, hints and insights into how you can get your school moving forward with their own 1 to 1 iPads in education program.

The integration of iPads in education

1 to 1 iPads in technology is about learning. These new devices enhance learning, promote collaboration – encourage curiosity and research in a way that no encyclopedia ever did. IPads are just a tool – but a powerful one when used effectively. They are not toys – not intended for playing video games – they are multi media learning tools. Imagine a student researching a subject, writing a brief script and creating a movie to communicate a thought, opinion or to document an event. This could be reality, even in an elementary classroom! When well integrated into the classroom – these tools can be extremely effective learning tools.

Teachers and administrators need to work together to develop a curriculum, pedagogy and a method for assessment of the effectiveness of iPads in education. These devices can create a paradigm shift in education. Children today experience the world from the point of view that they can take for granted the use of technology in their every day life. Yet still technology remains just another class in schools rather than the tool that it is in every other aspect of their lives. The use of iPads in education should not be viewed as a burden on teachers but rather a natural extension of the world today. Not using iPads in education or lap tops or desk tops in our classes today would be as anachronistic as using only land lines for phone calls. It is not the way of the world today – iPads in education is a minimum standard in my opinion. If not today then in the immediate future this will more necessary than a text book.

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The iPad in Education“Mindset”

Teachers while in university didn’t have access to iPads in education. That being the case, their is a natural fear or intimidation factor when introducing iPads in the classroom. Teachers need to be helped over this fear factor and encouraged to make the change. Encourage teachers to question their background, how things have shifted since they graduated and allow them to come to their own conclusion about the necessary shifts in the educational needs of students today. The teacher will be more effective when embracing the use of technology once they accept it’s need, not as a be all and end all, but as a tool which will augment and improve students educational experience.

iPads in Education – what apps are best?

Here is a site to reference where many great apps and the bundling of apps is discussed. http://blog-next.learnboost.com/?s=ipad+apps+for+education&lang=en.  To teach effectively with the iPad, teachers and staff have to be well-versed in “bundled apps,” those that come standard with the iPad, as well as any apps you’ll be utilizing additionally. Experiment – use the apps yourself, and with focus groups to test their effectiveness and how you can effectively teach using these apps.

iPads in education are an opportunity

The use of iPads in education should be viewed as an opportunity to revamp our educational system. Take a brand new look at how kids learn today and what their challenges are. Successful implementation necessitates thoughtful reconstruction of curricula as well as an invigorated mindset. It’s not about finding the app that will be a magic bullet for student achievement. 1 to 1 iPads in education is a process that will reshape education.

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E-learning – The use of Internet Technology to Improve Education

E-learning is the integration of social learning and the use of internet technology to improve the quality of education. The resources available to educators via the the internet, apps, and services utilized by other schools and teachers are vast. Distance learning is one option, but e-learning can take place in today’s classrooms, taking advantage of other schools and educators proven best practices. Today’s classroom can be a blend of e-learning and teacher support, encouragement and collaboration among teachers and other students to give students the best that education has to offer them, in the format in which they experience their everyday world – digitally.

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E-learning fosters curiosity

Practical exercises and apps have proven that this new teaching method is effective and encourages collaboration which enhances the learning experience. Learning is no longer a solitary memorization of facts. It is experiential – hands on – where curiosity and student initiative takes over where teachers leave off. Students know where to find answers and are no longer reliant upon teachers and books to provide them with all the answers. They naturally question, find contradiction and differing view points and draw their own conclusions. They learn to solve problems where solutions and answers used to be served up on a silver platter before, and they were expected to simply accept these answers as fact. They learn to question, and how to evaluate. There are many more sources of information. It is no longer a text book world.

Students are best served when e-learning is blended with traditional classrooms

Students still need the support of teachers to bridge the gap between the vast amount of information available to them and the truth or to give perspective. Traditional support is key to guiding students in the chaos and multitude of sites on the internet. The internet can be “the” source, but is is accurate? E-learning encourages students to question, and teachers can guide this process. Face to face as well as online sessions and participatory exercises should all be combined to give students the best and broadest view of any particular subject and it’s concepts.  Student to student collaboration is also key to e-learning. Each student gains ideas, perspective and facts through e-learning. It is through collaboration that students then question each other, offer support and other views. Teachers can then guide this e-learning and collaboration to fulfill the curriculum and more.

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Does e-learning replace traditional learning and teaching methods?

The quick answer is no, e-learning doesn’t not replace traditional learning, it enhances is. Teachers are key to the e-learning process. Teachers are needed to help students understand what they are reading, and to help them evaluate the quality of the source. And teachers need to find new digital ways to enhance the learning, exercises to do, charts and info graphics and illustrations and multi media projects that students can collaborate on to help them assimilate the facts and salient points of each lesson. These are key to e-learning just as they would be in traditional learning. The difference is that the use of technology for the collection of information is just as important as the use of technology for showing proof of understanding. Term papers now can be documentary movies or pod casts, or science projects a series of charts and info graphics.

E-learning enhances learning

If teachers are receptive to the e-learning concept their own skills will develop. They will better understand how each student experiences the world today, and will creatively apply technology, even if it means learning this creative application FROM their students. It is pointless for teachers to resist or to be intimidated or by the use of technology. Technology is here to stay.

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Elearning or Blended Learning – it’s the Future!

Imagine a classroom, where students are seated on the floor in groups. Some are working on i-pads, others on lap tops. The teacher circulating to help students with their research and providing guidance. It is a reality in some classrooms. Computers in the hands of each student. Students self motivated by their own interest and curiosity. Teachers focused on stimulating their curiosity, rather than another year of rote mundane same old same old that they have taught the past 15 years. There is no better way to kick start our educational system.

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Elearning stimulates kids learning in the classroom

Kids learning out of their own natural curiosity. Elearning by taking advantage of technology means kids are experiencing the classroom in the same way they are experiencing everything else in their lives these days. Technology is an inextricable part of every day. Our kids know it, they are comfortable with it. Just because we as adults are less comfortable with it doesn’t mean that we can ignore the way our kids experience the world. If we want to enhance their learning and be sure they are getting the most out of school, then we must also embrace elearning techniques. A blended learning environment is the modern educational system. Kids can research the topic, solve their own educational problem and have a genuine first hand understanding as opposed to having the problem and solution “told” to them. That will happen as a by-product. No more memorizing stuff by sucking it in and then spitting it back out.

Elearning or blended learning means knowledge is power.

if your child is still in a classroom where the teacher stands at the front of the classroom tells the kids to turn to page 26 and read – well – it would be time to push for change. Don’t get me wrong! There are tons of very dedicated teachers who do a fabulous job with few resources like ipads and lap tops. But a school which is not going in the direction of elearning or blended learning, is truly falling behind on behalf of it’s students.

The more a student can experience his or her own learning through genuine first hand research and problem solving, the more thorough the knowledge and the more deep the understanding of the subject matter. Teachers nurture, encourage, enrich and stimulate rather than dictate and test. Students ask why, and how, rather than just regurgitate information for the sake of passing a test.

Elearning will create lifelong “students” out of the curiosity and knowing where to find answers. Teachers are no longer the ones WITH all the answers, but they can teach even the most gifted students where to find information, how to interpret it, and how to take that knowledge to the next level.

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What is Elearning, and How to Set It Up in Your School

E-learning is characterized by open, flexible and off site learning opportunities – which obviously take full advantage of technology – meaning the internet. Many names have been given to this new instructional medium.
E-Learning, Web-Based Learning (WBL), Web-Based Instruction (WBI), Web-Based Training (WBT), Internet-Based Training (IBT), Distributed Learning (DL), Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL), Distance Learning, Online Learning (OL), Mobile Learning (or m-Learning) or Nomadic Learning, Remote Learning, Off-site Learning, a-Learning (anytime, anyplace, anywhere learning), etc.

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What are the essentials of e-learning?

  1. The pedagogical dimension of E-learning refers to teaching and learning. This dimension addresses issues concerning content analysis, audience analysis, goal analysis, media analysis, design approach, organization and methods and strategies of e-learning environments.
  2. The technological dimension of the E-Learning Framework examines issues of technology infrastructure in e-learning environments. This includes infrastructure planning, hardware and software.
  3. The interface design refers to the overall look and feel of e-learning programs. Interface design dimension encompasses page and site design, content design, navigation, and usability testing.
  4. The evaluation for e-learning includes both assessment of learners and evaluation of the instruction and learning environment.
  5. The management of e-learning refers to the maintenance of learning environment and distribution of information.
  6. The resource support dimension of the E-Learning Framework examines the online support and resources required to foster meaningful learning environments.
  7. The ethical considerations of e-learning relate to social and political influence, cultural diversity, bias, geographical diversity, learner diversity, information accessibility, etiquette, and the legal issues.
  8. The institutional dimension is concerned with issues of administrative affairs, academic affairs and student services related to e-learning.

The design and implementation of a flexible and effective elearning environment requires in depth analysis of many things. The target audience must be evaluated, and the resources available to them that will be necessary to complete an online course. Integrating this type of e-learning into a regular curriculum, and how collaboration can be used effectively so that students learn to work together just as they would be expected to in a classroom or work setting. Online learning or elearning adds a new dimension to traditional school or classrooms, but it can expand the possibilities for all students to be able to take advantage of the best a teacher and school has to offer, but do that on their own time and on their own terms.

Key factors in setting up and e-learning environment

E-learning frameworks that work the best have been evaluated by teachers from across the globe, including USA, Netherlands, Canada, UK and many other.  That frame work is below.

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The E-Learning framework has the potential to provide guidance in

  1. planning and designing e-learning materials,
  2. organizing resources for e-learning environment,
  3. designing distributed learning systems, corporate universities, virtual universities and cyberschools,
  4. designing LMS, LCMS and comprehensive authoring systems (e.g., Omni),
  5. evaluating e-learning courses, and programs.
  6. evaluating e-learning authoring tools/systems, LMS and LCMS.
  7. designing and evaluating blended learning environments

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Blended Learning – the Advantages of Elearning

Blended learning or elearning is the combination of traditional classrooms with in room teachers and technology based learning. Elearning is considered the next big thing and there are schools and universities who are already making use of this cutting edge paradigm shift in education.  If you haven’t heard of Khan Academy, do yourself a favor and check it out. Salman Khan has introduced something like 15,000 to this new teaching and learning experience.

Schools who are using blended learning techniques or elearning are showing improvement, including when used in under performing schools. Many school districts and even colleges have shown improvement when blended learning is implemented.  Below are examples of how elearning of blended learning are proving effective.

Can elearning work in your school?

Look at Manchester School District in Manchester N.H. The purpose in employing an elearning environment was to ease overcrowding. Superintendent Thomas Brennan’s “Maximinzing Educational Opportunities” presents a plan for blended classrooms uses elearning where students can choose to participate virtually (online) in courses at any one of the cities high schools. Also students would be able to take college courses at University of New Hampshire Manchester.

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iLearn NYC Program shows how elearning is being used in NYC

This Dept of Education initiative gives NYC schools access to reduced cost online content. In this elearning environment online courses are hosted, professional development as well as tech support and training are also available. There have been mixed reaction to the elearning option in NYC.

“Like many instructional strategies, blended learning is a tool that teachers were using before there was a name for it. Through class websites and blogs or use of existing web resources, teachers have been supplementing their instruction with online learning since Al Gore invented the Internet. Over the last decade the options have grown tremendously, and some schools are now offering fully online courses with teachers as coaches.” To read more, click this link http://gothamschools.org/2012/06/18/reflecting-on-a-year-of-blended-learning/

Can elearning reduce drop out rates?

In Alexandria Virgina the cities public schools have received awards at International Association for K-12 Online Leanrning’s Virtual School Simposium.

The Alexandria’s T.C. Williams High School was a persistently low achieving school in 2010. Once they launched their full program of online courses, they reduced dropout rate and by 2012 84% of graduates were on their way to college.

“As part of its PLA transformation strategy, one of the school’s primary goals was to extend learning and to increase graduation rates.  Under the guidance of Online Learning Coordinator Mary Fluharty, and with the strong support of district administration, T.C. Williams now offers a full program of online courses that include AP, core, electives, world languages, online tutoring, and health and life skills using the K12 family of curricula.

In addition, this fall ACPS launched the T.C. Satellite Campus, the first comprehensive, non-traditional satellite high school campus in Northern Virginia.  The satellite offers K12’s Aventa curriculum, flexible scheduling, internships, and one-on-one interaction with Content-Specific Learning Coaches.  The T.C. Satellite Campus is designed to meet the needs of students who require additional schedule flexibility because of family or work obligations, or students who want to accelerate their learning and get to college faster.  With the addition of the satellite, the school now believes it can truly meet the individual needs of every student.” read more through this link http://gettingsmart.com/cms/news/k12-inc-honors-5-schools-with-transformation-award/

Can elearning improve educational systems throughout the USA?

Miami Dade’s iPrep Academy are a group of small individual schools with online curriculum. This set up allows students to move at their own pace, and combines elearning with tutoring, projects and practical learning. Over 800 students participate at nine different Miami Dade high school campuses.

“iPrep Academies provide students in grades 9-12 with the opportunity to accelerate in the high school curriculum in a technology-rich, non- traditional academic setting. The environment is uniquely designed to meet each student’s individual needs. iPrep students are able to participate in college prep and college-level courses, using both face-to-face and online instruction. The rigorous online curriculum powered by Florida Virtual School (FLVS) includes honors, Advanced Placement (AP), online, and dual enrollment courses. Some courses are taught by teachers on site, some by FLVS teachers online.” To read more about Miami Dade’s success in using elearning and blended learning, click here. http://gettingsmart.com/cms/blog/2012/10/iprep-the-miami-flex/

This out of the box thinking and the new approach to learning is proving to be very effective as part of today’s classroom and learning environment. It is not a total solution in my opinion but an effective one when combined with traditional one on one or face to face learning. Give elearning a try in your classroom, and please leave your comments about it’s use.

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