|Apps like Flipboard allow you to personalize your learning|
I have had this conversation far more than once this year, but here I am 9 1/2 days before the end of the semester, having it again.
Should schools allow students to personalize their iPads with their own apps?
When we talk about limiting choice on a device, I believe we are talking about policing instead of education. Are we empowering students to use this opportunity to learn or are we sending a message about power and control? Alan November speaks about teaching students to own their learning. When students feel as if they have power and ownership over their learning experiences, they become deeply invested. We all do.
When it comes to controlling every aspect of the device, this is a case when our teachers want to own the learning. We have the opportunity to teach students the right way to do things. I don't believe this lesson gets any easier as they grow older. When do they learn this? In 8th grade? In HS when they stop listening to adults? Aren't we passing the buck? In the Middle School, we have an opportunity to model the behavior we would like to see now. How are we teaching students to take ownership of their learning and differentiate their learning in ways that are meaningful? I don't see the issues we are facing any different that students who used to pass notes or stare out the window as someone cut the grass. Did we close the blinds so no one could see outside because a student was a daydreamer? Does limiting choice get rid of classroom management issues or just move those issues to another venue? I feel as if we have an opportunity to empower and educate, and instead we are choosing to control and police. I know it is not easy, but I believe it is the right choice. In the graduate courses I teach, I have adults who's attention wanders to Bejewelled and Facebook. This won't go away because we tell it to go away. Who is teaching them? This problem is not unique to our students, it is throughout our society. I feel we have an obligation to teach students how to be manage these distractions. I believe this starts in our schools.
We need to change the conversation to "how are kids using apps to learn". I believe that conversation is the number one conversation none of us are having.
So here are my questions:
What are other 1:1 iPad programs doing?
How are you handling this issue within your community?