What is more important to teach – The Tool (iPad, ChromeBook…) Or the Platform (Online Collaboration, Resource Creation, Creativity…) ?

I am not saying an iPad is any better or worse than a laptop, but both can be used as a ‘window’ to the online platforms we want to teach our students.

…now with less typos (thanks iPhone autocorrect and fat thumb for hitting post)…

When I started at my first school all the way back in 2012, I worked at a school that promoted having a 1:1 iPad program. What become quickly apparent to me was that even though the students had iPad, the teachers did not know, or willing to learn, how to use these new devices to enhance and redefine the learning, they quickly became PDF and Internet viewers…

Times they are ‘a changing, you can see the ways I tried to overcome this in the past by going through some of my old posts, but it is an issue that I saw a lot in the following years (and still see).

Fast forward to now (That’s 2015 for those of you playing at home) That original problem has not fixed itself (that I believe can only come with pro-active teachers and leaders and quality, relevant PD) but a new one has come into view.

Let me give you some context. I have been trying to decide what devices would best serve our senior students (Grade 5 and 6). My original thinking was that as 95% of our students would be going to a school that is 1:1 iPad in Year 7, this would be the best choice. We could provide our students skills and knowledge in using the iPad in their schooling, and in turn this would give them an advantage when they head into high-school.

As good as an iPad can be in allowing students to create, it does have some limitations when compared with a laptop or ChromeBook (keyboards, multi-tasking, open sourced nature of laptops) and as we are using the Google Docs platform in a big way, would I be crippling what these students could achieve? (Yes, Google Apps are on the iPad, but in a very limited way)

More and more I am seeing the device as a window to some great platforms and programs and ways of working (Google Apps, Seesaw). And more and more I am seeing a huge uptake of mobile device use in the home (iOS, Android) – our students are learning the ‘devices’ on their own, but really have no need to learn the platforms (Google Apps will not get you a high score in Candy Crush). Devices will come and go, update and evolve – but the key concepts behind the platforms (collaborative working spaces, sharing resources, cloud based storage and retrieval teacher created and catered resources) are now (or should be) a main stay in our schools.

I believe that we should be focusing on developing these skills in our students, the device, or window, our students use to access these is still important, but something that will come naturally, and with the right teacher, be used to enhance the learning in the classroom.

Think of it like driving a car. Once you know how to drive, you can hop into any car and go for a spin, learning some of the new features of said car is then an enjoyable experience! (expect when driving my brother’s old car, no one should have to drive a ’87 Camry)



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