Sitting at the airport waiting for a flight gives you time to think. I’m heading off to EduTech in Brisbane for a couple of days and am trying to figure out just what I hope to find out, that I couldn’t get from a Twitter Feed.
Of course, there’s power in the networked connections you can make in conferences, but I’m hoping too that there’s more that I’ll come back to my school with. I’ll blog my thinking over the next couple of days but I’m particularly interested in:
- The state of play in the LMS world (and specifically where Schoolbox sits in that)
- IOS student response systems and apps
- Are there possibilities in Chromebooks I’ve ignored for too long?
- What do the new iPad admin settings look like
- How can I get on board the next OneNote thing
Mixed up bunch isn’t it? Tech agnostic: Google, Apple, Microsoft … I’ll be interested to see if I’m any clearer on some of these key questions by Tuesday night.
Driving an innovation agenda
Williamson began his talk about. innovation by emphasising how quickly things can dramatically change.
Only 21% of the 1982 Fortune 500 companies were still on the list in 1982. (aka Kodak and Polaroid and Motorola) He asked the question, ‘why didn’t Sony invent the iPod?’
He argued that no one is immune- ‘Higher education is now ground zero for disruption.’
The biggest barriers to innovation:
- risk averse culture
- lengthy development time
- not enough good ideas
Innovation requires leadership and recognise that different types of knowledge are needed for invention and harnessing (from thought to implementation). He argued for collaboration and integration, using Apple as an example.
So, in the interest of diverse opinion, in respect to the last post, I post this video of girl coders from the recent Apple WWDC Conference. I’m all for empowering girls to be what they want to be, and love the advice here: ‘don’t give up, just because it’s dominated by men’.
BTW: I still don’t think compulsory coding is a good idea! These kids all really wanted to make things happen.
I’ve always said in recent years that the only thing keeping me interested in the Windows platform was OneNote.
Over the past five years or so I’ve gradually re-invested in the Apple platform after abandoning it for the Windows machines of various 1-1 notebooks programs over the years including Toshibas, ACER, Fujitsu, IBMs and others. I bought an iPod, then an iPhone and an iPad and then a Mac Mini. Back to the Mac; since my first computer at work was an Apple 2, and the first computer I bought was an Apple 2C, so sleek and modern at the time. I had a Mac Classic all those years ago.
So I was pretty interested to see Microsoft finally release a Mac version of OneNote this week. At last! And free! OneNote has been my favourite Microsoft Office component on Windows for a long time, (it’s my central teaching tool) and now it’s on the Mac, syncing via OneDrive.
The Mac version
isn’t quite as full-featured; is pretty light on features: it lacks tight integration with Outlook, for example and I can’t see sub-sections or a way to move stuff around. But it’s finally there and a worthy developing competitor of Evernote at last. It’s on the Mac App Store and went to No. 1 straight away.
Makes me want to go out and buy a Macbook, which I’m sure isn’t exactly what Microsoft intended!
If you haven’t heard about OneNote, check out some of the links below:
5 Ways to make use of OneNote for Students
4 Tips for Students using OneNote
OneNote is a note-taking Power Tool (Lifehacker)
Teaching and Learning with OneNote
Somehow, I still get the feeling that I always got when I saw the Officeworks ‘Back to School’ catalog in the mailbox in old media days. NO, not yet!
I’ve embedded the Apple announcement on text books below. I’ve already heard some negative reactions in the twittiverse arguing that this is another examples of Apple’s ‘walled garden’ approach, and that locking schools and districts into Apple systems entirely is not a good move. It seems there’s other questions too about whether these textbooks will be available on other platforms (unlikely) or available in other formats (very unlikely).
Nevertheless, I’m quite excited about it, particularly from a writer’s perspective. Could I write my textbook and have it on the Apple bookstore without the intermediary of the publisher? Like musicians do now? Could we break down the systems and empower good teachers and good teacher/authors and share their expertise more widely? And I’m definitely going to download the publication software.
But I have reservations, and they are more around the idea of the textbook in the first place. Maybe the textbook thing is bigger in the United States than here, or maybe because I’m an English teacher there isn’t generally the reliance on a textbook beyond the set novels and plays.
The video says they are going to change ‘one of the cornerstones of education: the textbook’. But is the textbook really that critical? How does this change learning? Or teaching? And, will replacing the traditional textbook with a ‘bells and whistles’ version change the classroom experience? Where are the collaborative tools, the feedback, the personalisation, the differentiation, the user-created textbook that we’ve talked about for some time.
There’s no doubt it will look pretty, it will save a lot of printing and heavy schoolbags for kids with iPads (oh yeah, how many is that right now?), they can be updated easily and they will be more engaging. But every time I hear ‘engagement’ as an argument for new software and hardware I cringe a little. There’s got to be better reasons than that. We shall see!
Okay, I admit it, I want one.
I’ve been hanging out for the duration of the Ipad based on the sage advice of many tech-head friends who proclaim solemnly; ‘thou shalt not buy version 1 of any Apple product’. And I listened. And in a couple of weeks I’m going to be grabbing version 2, though I am too dignified to sleep outside the Apple store before opening time.
But I DON’T think this going to transform education anytime soon. For my senior Literature class, with a Toshiba tablet-pc in front of them, the uber-cool ipad would, in fact, be a step backward in terms of pure technology. Sans keyboard for example. I played around iwth an Ipad travelling around Spain last year, and it was a fantastic tool for that kind of thing, but I’d hate to write anything much longer than a recipe on it.
And there are a ton of implementation issues that go along with it too.
So I want one, and so do half my students probably. But I cant see it as becoming THE viable ongoing real tool that students use for creating content. More likely I see the 1-1 going the way of the 1 to many. And that students (and teachers) will access their information and interact with it in a variety of ways, through ipads and slates, through smart phones and netbooks and through more traditional notebooks and even desktops.
And, when I actually want to start writing something anything longer than this blog post, I’m gonna want a keyboard to do it. A real one with springy touchy feedback; perhaps one of those lovely little Apple blue-tooth ones! Unless someone invents voice-recognition that actually works! But don’t get me started on that.