iPad in Education Workshops

Though I caught some flack for announcing this on Twitter on Wednesday (on account of getting caught up in the iFad and jumping on the next Pad Wagon), I do think it’s important for organizations like CUE to take risks, explore, and lead the way with new technologies. And, I suspect many of you might be interested in this. Plus, I felt a lot better when I saw that Ewan McIntosh launched a fund focused on iPad innovation the same day. ;)


The iPad, a “magical and revolutionary device” was announced by Apple CEO Steve Jobs on the morning of January 27. CUE is proud to announce the iPad in Education workshop the same day! Two workshops are currently open for registration. You may also request a workshop for your site.
Register today for a workshop on May 12th,
or request an iPad in Education workshop for your site!

Of course, let me know if you have any thoughts, questions, or other feedback in the comments below. :)

16 Responses to “iPad in Education Workshops”

  1. Steve Ransom Says:

    The CUE description states that the iPad places “incredible new power at students’ fingertips.” and “Be among the first to discover how the iPad impacts the classroom” and “Be the first to introduce your school and students to this revolutionary device.”

    So here are my questions:
    1. What exactly is this incredible new power? It’s an underpowered laptop.
    2. Why the pressure to be the first?
    3. How can a group of adults discover how the iPad impacts the classroom without every using it with kids in the classroom?

    It sounds to me like CUE is pushing this as yet one more example of a solution looking for a problem. I am all for discussion and exploration where new ideas and technologies converge, but this to me seems like a marketing gimmick and a diversion from the types of conversations that should be going on. This is fad-pushing and yet one more example buying innovation. To quote Sylvia Martinez, “You can’t buy change. It’s a process, not a purchase. The right shopping list won’t change education.” http://bit.ly/dwWod3

    I think the CUE iPad workshop description is irresponsible.

  2. ktenkely Says:

    I for one, am thrilled that you have jumped on the iFad and Pad Wagon. I am right there with you, the iPad has incredible implications for education. Can’t wait to hear what you all come up with!

  3. Dave Says:

    I think its great that you are setting up workshops on how to use the iPad in education. I’m not a big fan of it, yet, because I think it is too early to see its true potential in education. It’s also expensive for what you get (an fully enabled netbook is less than half the cost.)

    I hope that educators who can afford to buy them can use them well in school.

    (more of my thoughts on the iPad – http://educationaltechnologyguy.blogspot.com/2010/01/apple-ipad-is-it-game-changer.html)

    Good luck and keep use informed!

  4. Mark Wagner Says:

    Thank you again for the support, Kelly. I’m looking forward to sharing the workshop resources here – and of course to learning more about the iPad and it’s educational potential myself. :)

  5. Mariana Ludmila Says:

    So many things have been said about the iPad lately. Yes, it is true it is not multitasking, it doesn’t support flash, some say that it won’t work as an e-reader as the Kindle does, as it might be a pain to the eyes after a 30 min reading.
    I don’t dare myself to provide any good or bad comments about it until I have had in on my hands and tried it. I would love to hear what is been said at the workshop. Definetely I will try to get there from Mexico next May. Hope I can make it!

  6. Mark Wagner, Ph.D. Says:

    Hi, Steve. Thank you for your comment and questions. And I agree with you about Sylvia’s quote. There’s no question that simply buying equipment (however cool) isn’t enough to impact a classroom, never mind “change education.” But that’s why it’s important that (at least some) educators receive professional development with any new technology so that they know how it might be used in their classroom. Ideally, they would also be exposed to real-world examples, if not best practices.

    But these things come later… clearly by May 12th there will be little or no real-world examples of student work using iPads and certainly nothing like an established “best practice” for using an iPad in the classroom. But, I still argue that it’s important not to be afraid to start somewhere. The folks who come to these workshops will create the some of the first real-world examples and might blaze the trail for what might one day be considered a best practice. If we waited for examples and best practices to start using a new technology, we’d obviously never get started.

    Of course, once there are real world examples and best practices, those aught to be included in any high-quality PD on the subject. But I also know these things are overrated. Some teachers seem to need an example in their own subject and own grade level, and even then sometimes can’t make the leap to applying it in their classroom. There’s very little substitute for learning how something works and making your own connections and drawing your on conclusions about how it might be applied with students based on your own best understanding of good teaching and learning principles. The best experts (and lead learners) can help encourage this kind of thinking.

    This of course is what the lead learners will be doing for these first workshops. And they’ll be drawing on their considerable experience with similar devices in education (such as iPods, netbooks, laptops, and Tablet PCs) and the same solid pedagogical approaches that work well with these devices (and indeed with paper and pencils) if done properly. I think many readers will also find themselves in this situation, but I’m confident that I can imagine dozens of fantastic ways to use this device with students based only on the videos I’ve seen (and my experience with educational technology) – and I’m equally confident that the device will surprise me with a dozen more ideas.

    In a year or so, though, I’d choose the workshop led by someone who had used iPads with kids over a workshop led by me. ;)

    In the meantime, I have no doubt that the three-hour workshop will be crammed with inspirational ideas that participants can take back with them to “use on Monday” and to build toward even more significant future changes.

    And while I know the rush to be first isn’t important to everyone (and is in fact looked down upon by some), it is important to some people (they’re called early adopters), and they happen to be critical to the change process – and instrumental in establishing things like real-world examples and best practices. I’m proud that these workshops might attract a number of early adopters, and I look forward to seeing where their efforts lead them after the workshop.

    As for what exactly the incredible new power is… it’s certainly not just an underpowered laptop (though I understand that view from a laptop centric viewpoint)… it might be more accurate to call it a big powerful iPod Touch. But in any case, I’m not terribly interested in debating the technical merits of the device here (that argument is well covered elsewhere) and I’m not interested in going through the features on a line-item basis to explain how fantastic I think each would be in the classroom. I know it won’t appeal to all educators – or all students… but clearly it will appeal to some… and clearly Apple has hit on something that many people are excited about, including many educators.

    I hope some of them will join us for the workshop… on the strength of the product, their imagination, and this early draft of the workshop description alone. We’ll certainly be able to write a new one after May 12th. :)

    I guess I answered your questions in reverse order. I hope my responses made good food for thought. Now it’s off to bed for me (and yes, the time stamp on this is correct).

  7. Steve Ransom Says:

    Mark, thanks for your response. I take no issue, as I said in my first comment, with educators getting together to explore a new product, be it a textbook series or some more current technology like the iPad.

    We do not need an expensive iPad workshop to consider “best practices” in terms of how students learn best with technology. If anything, we need a systemic effort to help teachers and educational leaders understand how students learn best in an information-rich, highly networked and global learning community. If that doesn’t happen, then tools like the iPad will indeed fall into the category of “iFad”.

    The whole problem here is that indeed, we ignore best practice as we jump on the next, latest, greatest tool that will “transform” education. The iPad has little to no impact on these “best practices”. We don’t need the “best experts” (how do you define these experts, by the way?) sitting around with iPads in their hands trying to figure out some compelling reason to get administrators and teachers to buy them. That has happened with every other device over the ages and most teachers continue on with business as usual.

    I am certainly not arguing that devices such as this one have no place in the classroom and should not be looked at creatively and imaginatively. Of course these “experts” will come up with dozens of ways that it could be used in the classroom. We can all do that without even holding it in our own hands.

    My main point remains unchanged. This one new tool is not going to bring any “significant future change”, as you put it… unless it is put into the hands of teachers who understand how learners learn in the 21st century and unless leaders both encourage and support sustained and systemic education renewal in their own buildings. The educational community does not need an expensive iPad workshop to pretend that this will happen.

    We are all early adopters of cool new gadgets in the edtec community. I would love an iPad. Who wouldn’t want one if it was to be given to them? Once again, I am not criticizing the desire for educators gathering to consider new ideas and implications for all kinds of new technologies. That’s great. But this is not the tone of the workshop description. It is a capitalistic distraction toward efforts to bring needed meaningful change. Have we learned nothing over the years? The ACOT (Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow) research alone should suffice. http://tr.im/MxmU

    Call it what you like – a humongous, pretty, shiny, powerful iPod Touch. It’s still an underpowered laptop… a device that many are still using for trivial and shallow tasks. The description says that this device will “put incredible new power at students’ fingertips”. They have had incredible power at their fingertips since the inception of computers in schools that has gone largely untapped. Computers should lead learners toward creating powerful things and deep, meaningful learning. That never happens unless it is put into the hands of teachers who create powerful, meaningful learning opportunities for their students and who are learners themselves right alongside their students.

    I’m sure folks who sign up for the workshop will enjoy it. I sincerely hope everyone has a great time. I’d even like to be there. But let’s not fool ourselves with the description’s basic premise. My main point still stands that the description is deceptive and a distraction toward more meaningful (and much needed) discussion surrounding meaningful learning with computers. Why not change it to something more honest?

  8. Maria Says:

    Excellent discussion on the merits of developing best practices around new education technology, specifically the iPad. I agree with Mark that organizations like CUE need to provide leadership on important tech announcements and how educators can leverage their use in the classroom. However, I think a lot of people get nervous with the hype, especially words like “magical” and “revolutionary” are thrown around, when the product is not even available, let alone tested.
    I applaud the workshop and it’s goals, but tone down the rhetoric. There are a lot of very cool and impactful technologies that enhance education, Apple is not the only innovator out there.

  9. Gregg Gunkel Says:

    The most powerful advances In education have not come from simply a new device. Progress is the result of applying innovation to elevate the capacity to learn. It is easy to direct criticism towards our perceptions of short-comings in design. It is the insight to use a tool to escalate the students grasp to acquire knowledge. If a truly portable device can extend the ability to collect, organize, analyze, synthesize, and comprehend, then that device will evolve with improvements of that tool. This was true of my first Mac 128 which has evolved into my new iMac, and my Newton which has evolved into my iPhone. I enthusiastically await the iPad and it’s descendents. Now who will pick up this tool and innovate it’s purpose?

  10. Mark Wagner, Ph.D. Says:

    Hi, Steve. I thought I’d take a crack at a quick response. In general, I think you and are on the same page… I guess I just take exception to some of the presumptions you’re making about CUE (and the workshop). For instance, CUE is certainly not going to ignore best practices, we’re going to apply them to a new device (and hopefully discover some exciting new possibilities)… and we’ll take the opportunity to share some of the things we think are most important (on a larger scale) with the participants (who may indeed have just come for the iPad)… we won’t waste the opportunity to encourage meaningful change – and we know it won’t be easy or guaranteed – or even a high percentage play. That comes with the territory of early adoption.

    Also, I’m not sure if you realize that the participants are walking out with iPads… the workshop is hardly expensive… there’s something like a $50 margin for CUE, and when you consider the labor that will go into developing it, that’s not saying much. Of course, CUE is an educational non-profit after all, so that’s not surprising.

    And if most of the computational power (and more importantly learning potential) of a computer is already wasted in schools, there’s no reason to criticize a less powerful one (like a netbook or iPad… or iPod Touch) if it’s being used in constructive ways. There’s a lot to be said for the editorials explaining how the iPad is for old people… or young children. The lack of complexity (in some ways) is a virtue… and the truly new things it can do are a benefit too.

    And I agree (and I’m sure the descriptions author would, too) that the description was hastily written (and posted). I’m sure our next one will be much better… once we’ve had some experience with the device and the workshop. We might even get a new one up ahead of time. ;)

    Onward…

  11. Mark Wagner, Ph.D. Says:

    Thanks for the comment, Greg. And, yup, the descendants of the iPad (and it’s competitors) will be the important thing. I remember being told by someone at Apple (back in the black and white click wheel iPod days) that this iPod (which we all thought was amazing of course) was the Apple II of iPods and to imagine the Macintosh… or the modern PowerMac of iPods. I think we see the beginnings of that in the iPod Touch. I suspect it’d be fair to call this first iPad the Apple II of iPads, and I think the new form factor (and interface) bodes well for the industry despite it’s shortcomings. :)

  12. Steve Ransom Says:

    Mark,
    The last paragraph of your response is all I was getting at. I do hope such descriptions have less “hype” and more substance.

    Thanks for your response,
    Steve

  13. Trevor M. Says:

    I think the iPad really will revolutionize education and the classroom, from K-12 to graduate level classes. There is so much potential there. I have written an article describing six ways it will change education at http://www.edutechnophobia.com/2010/02/six-ways-the-ipad-will-transform-education/ and also a post outlining three apps that should be developed for the iPad at http://www.edutechnophobia.com/2010/02/three-concepts-of-ipad-apps-for-schools/. Check them out and let me know what you think.

  14. Lisa Says:

    I am a teacher of ancient history. I am always looking for ways to get the beautiful, colorful, engaging books on this topic in the hands of my students. We have been building a book library for year but are limited by the cost. There are so many non-fiction books that are so much more engaging than the textbooks. I do not know anything about the ipad but was interested when I heard that the books will be displayed with color. Is it worth my trying to find a grant to purchase one? Will this new technology be useful in bringing more diversified reading to the classroom? Where would I start to find more information?

  15. Carlos Landa Says:

    I am interested in the possibilities for using the I PAd in an Art stdio environment

  16. Mark Wagner, Ph.D. Says:

    Hi, Lisa. Sorry for the delayed reply – and thank you for commenting. Most of the resources you’re asking about don’t exist yet. But, if you are able to come up with the funding, the workshop might be a great place to start… all of the resources we can muster by then will be shared, and you can not only walk away with an iPad – but also with a good idea how to use it with your students.