RE I PADS
October 4, 2013
I was at one of the 11 schools which rolled out I Pads in L A Unified School DIstrict, and we had an hour grade level second grade training, which was hands on.
There were three Pearson trainers. Two were teachers and one was a Pearson executive.
There are many flaws or issues.
Right now, there is ENVISION MATH COMMON CORE. All LAUSD schools have that and will implement as the new gold standard, but, the Envision Math does not interface with the PEARSON COMMON CORE program on the I Pad. And, there are no consumables yet to coordinate. I think the same situation would occur with Treasures Common Core.
Turns out that both Envision and Pearson are actually part of the same company but different divisions. So both get paid.
Why don't they interface?
There is as yet no technology to use in order to have the teacher's I Pad on a big screen like a Smart Board. How do the kids see what the teacher is doing and vice versa? The trainers said eventually, the technology will be added like a Smart Board, which means millions more money to support that much needed technology.
We discussed projecting with the overhead, and while the image is not great, the I Pad can be put under the overhead projectors
How can substitute teachers use the I Pads if they are not trained. The class could miss a day of math (and also language arts as all lessons will be on the I Pad). But, substitute teachers do not just do one day assignments. Teachers get sick, have bereavement leaves. pregnancy leaves, etc. Can students afford to miss multiple days of instruction which utilizes these I Pads?
Yes, substitute teachers do need training on these I Pads. One trainer from another district said to ask the school principal. This issue is not at lhe level of the school site administrator. And funding to train substitute teachers would not necessarily come from individual school site budgets. Substitute teachers go to many schools and have many principals. It would be a District decision and funding would have to come from the District for I Pad training for substitute teachers. Technically, substitutes are expected to do all the duties of the regular teacher. If the regular teachers are utilizing I Pads, then the substitute teachers must also utilize I Pads.
We went through one math lesson, and there are physical flaws. There is a "write on" feature but it is so small and you either have to bring up the keyboard or draw with the automatic pencil. The teachers thought both would be impractical especially for lower grades where kids writing is larger. It would be better to use a real pencil and paper. Also, the tablet scrolls sideways and not up and down so you cannot see a whole overview.
And, teachers have to teach and walk around the classroom to see the students' answers.This is not easy. And, in the lesson we did, there was not one right answer. There were several. And in Common Core, the answer itself is not important. It is the "how" or "why". In subtraction the students are given a problem like WHAT TWO ADDENDS EQUAL THE SUM OF 50? The answer varies. It can be 30+20, 40+10, 25+25. The students need to discuss how they arrived at their answer. In the lesson, lesson 11, it referred to a "discuss" page in a previous lesson, lesson 5, and we have to scroll sideways to get back.
All I could think of is how these squirrely kids, some of whom cannot not sit still and hold a pencil without resorting to tapping it, would be able to sit still and work on the I Pads without goofing off. And, now teachers can write big on the board or enlarge the lesson on the projector so they can do the lesson step by step, but how will teachers do this using the actual size tablet?
There are many flaws and issues yet to be worked out. It is good to find out these issues with eleven or so pilot schools within L A Unified School District. The instructional use of I Pads is a work in progress. The total cost is also a work in progress. Aside from adding keyboards, Smart Boards to accommodate the I Pads will have to be added.