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Educated By Design Blog

Filtering by Tag: apple

Time Machines, Management, & Misuse

TheTechRabbi

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Technology is something powerful. The innovative and imaginative experiences that we are able to create today are unlike anything seen in history. Technology by definition gives us the ability to make and modify any object in order to solve a problem, improve an existing solution, or achieve a goal. No one questions the qualitative enhancements of the use of technology, as these results are clear and well documented. Our challenges now are in our ability to achieve these previously inconceivable outcomes in a reasonable period of time.

The iPad gives its user the ability to create powerful visual and audial experiences that push the limits of creativity through their mobile, customizable, and flexible design. Our ability to create, capture, and curate our experiences is no longer bound by a multiple device processes requiring advanced training. In the past, a film, for example, was produced through a process involving video cameras, cables, computers, and software, to achieve a final product capable of visually engaging an audience. This process is now possible through a single device with diverse components giving even the most inexperienced novice the ability to produce engaging and dynamic visual experiences.

The Invisible iPad approach enables the users to use the iPad as a tool to achieve clear learning goals and objectives, vs. focus on using the technology for its own sake. Yet, even “authentic invisibility” can encounter a serious dilemma plaguing many 1st year 1:1 programs or even worse, something that even veteran school cannot avoid, and that is time management.

Time Machines

We have yet to successfully travel back in time, but in the event that it does become possible, it will not be a justified solution for poor planning. Imagine a society that never learns from any of their mistakes because the bending of time will allow for a quick fix. A current trend in education today promotes an "embracing of failure". While failure is part of the learning process, it is not something we are supposed to plan for. As educators and facilitators we need to properly plan our projects. This is not a technology issue, this is a human one.

When we effectively teach our students planning and time management we give them something more than just guidance on a project, we give them a foundational skill set that if lacking will cause them to struggle in "real world" environments where late work isn't accepted and extra credit doesn't exist.

Time Management

Teachers need to keep in mind the following time-related obstacles to meet planned deadlines.

  • Plan for tech glitches (This cannot be stressed enough- YES! Google Drive is going to fail to upload videos the day its due)
  • Students are going to loose their work, just like they lost it before the iPad. (They need to back up projects at specific benchmarks during the project)
  • Students are going to come up with an awesome and creative solution to their project goal three days before the deadline, and it's going to take twice as long as the original project idea. Students need to be taught how to prioritize, plan, and also to save "good ideas" for another project.
  • School events, and special programing. If you have 8 out of 14 students on the basketball team, or 2 special events that run during your period, do not plan a project due date that doesn't account for the lose of class time.

Outside of planning and management, there is one philosophical approach that we cannot waver on and this is that

In the real world, innovation is does not justify or even make up for missed deadlines. 

Misuse of Time

The misuse of time is another "non-technology" challenge, and it is important to help students differentiate between the misuse of time and exploratory learning. This exploratory process is important for any type learning, to see how to excel in using a tool or process as well as to discover new ways to use them. However, this can lead to a misuse of time that will be challenging to make up and still meet project deadlines.

This is a work in progress for all parties involved. Administrators need to embrace and support the innovative and experimental approaches of their teachers. Teachers need to help facilitate 21st century skills built on planning and time management, and students need to continue blowing our minds with their amazing imaginations and significant learning experiences.

Think Different, More Than Just a Choice of Device

TheTechRabbi

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It was 1997 and Apple challenged the world to "Think Different"This cliché is more than meets the eye, speaking more about the decision not go with the status quo device than a challenge for us as innovators and users of technology to use their devices to, think different. This is because 1997 was the same year that Apple almost went bankrupt. Twenty years later, we see Apple is a leading technology company, one who continues to push the limits of how technology can shape our future. When analyzing technology's impact on experiences in and out of education, we need to appreciate that technology affords us the ability to think different. It allows us to enhance experiences, alter others, and cause daily experiences to become obsolete. It is in this spirit that models such as SAMR as so dangerous, yet simultaneously so magical in how they enable us to measure our thoughtful use of technology.

When we look at technology only as a computer then we in fact significantly limit our potential outcomes.

file000381054567 One of the greatest technological breakthroughs of the industrial age was the invention of the typewriter. It was a device of empowerment, individuality, and of freedom. We were now able to rapidly produce our thoughts onto paper breaking the shackles of the limitations of pen and ink, and the printing press.

So what did the computer accomplish? Looks like a typewriter to me. For one, it turned production into mass production giving us the ability to store hundreds and even thousands of those typed letters on this "little" innovation. Floppy_disk_2009_G1Computing technology has come a long way, becoming smaller and simpler, with expanded abilities , and more intricate and complex results. As the decades passed this trend continued until

April 3, 2010. That was the day that Apple again, Thought Different.

That day, we went mobile, and dozens of limitations and challenges evaporated into thin air. A truly different device was created. It is not a device that can replace a computer and, therefore, isn't comparable to one. It is like trying to compare a car and a helicopter simply based on their similar ability in respect to travel. The iPad also created a challenge that other tech companies eagerly accepted. How can we take the best features of all creative devices and combine them into one. The mobile tablet was born. IMG_0140   Still, the world looked at the iPad as a consumption device, and Education looked at it was skepticism. Fast forward five years and it is abundantly clear that the iPad is much more, a creative, personalized, empowering, truly mobile device. Still as recently as yesterday I am reading criticisms leveled at the iPad that I thought we had overcome. CK5Pe4hVEAE4_z5 No one will question the importance of easy and advanced levels of writing, but once your Bluetooth keyboard pairs with the iPad, it will give you ample time to question the level of emphasis on essay writing as a means of assessment, which alienates at least four ways students can demonstrate their understanding.

Still, the iPad isn't perfect, for example, it's an IT nightmare. The iPad is extremely difficult for IT Departments to manage and support. This is, unfortunately true, and very frustrating. Apple has made little to no effort to answer the call by educational technology personnel to change how the iPad is set up and managed. Fall 2015 is a little to late and many have given up on the device as an educational tool because of this. For those that have stuck it out I ask the following question.

What drives the choice of technology at your school? The meaningful learning outcomes that students can produce or the ability for the adults to manage it?

I want what's best for my students. I want to afford them the most flexible and versatile learning tools just like I expect those same descriptors to reflect their learning spaces, and the learning itself.

I don't want my students to have an iPad, I want them to have a mobile studio that can plan, design, produce, edit, and publish most excellent learning experiences.

Reflections: Apple Distinguished Educator Institute 2015

TheTechRabbi

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What makes a great educator? Is it passion? pedagogy? adaptability? Is being forward thinking and a risk taker the yardstick of a quality educator? When I arrived at the Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) Institute in Miami I was told,

You are all here for a purpose, and you all deserve to be here.

This statement has still yet to be digested as I try to piece together amazing, meaningful moments together on my journey as an educator and a lover of technology, and I do love technology. I find technology empowers its users with an uncanny ability to create and explore hidden talents, skills, and ideas that without it would lie dormant, and hidden away.

When I applied to the ADE program this year, I was nervous anxious totally freaked out. I saw amazing educators who are doing amazing things in their classroom with amazing students. Then I saw me, the bearded Chassidic Rabbi trying to "change the world", and then it hit me, April 22nd, 8:00pm.

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The following are 4 take aways that made this experience powerful in the moment, and priceless in where it will take me.

This Isn't Just A Conference:

As an avid cliché user, and life long learner, I am always trying to find new things to learn, and new ways to learn them. When I attend conferences I am usually caught up in the hustle and bustle of presenting and finding worthwhile sessions to attend. At the ADE Institute, something was different. During the opening keynote, it was said that

if all we did at the institute, was bring you all together, we are certain that amazing things would happen.

The Institute hosted without questions some amazing presenters. Outside of the unbelievable work that fellow ADEs presented at the showcases, we also heard from the developers of Garageband and iMovie who shared with us not just how to "use" the apps, but how to "think" while using them. Our surprise keynote, Jason Hall of Chicago's "Slow Roll Bicycle Movement" show us how passion and activism can unite a community, a city, and the world. Still, my biggest take home without question was those impromptu conversations with fellow ADEers whether over an iPad, a Beer, or both. These colleagues and friends will definitely be part of my continue journey as a professional educator.

Learning Is A Journey:

One of the biggest challenges as a learner is to make time to reflect, redo, and reread pieces that make an impact on us. In our educational journeys, many times we are simply pushed forward in an effort to "learn more". The process of going back to something that seems old, and discovering something new is a tenant of the Jewish faith. Every year, we reread the Torah anew, and every year I discover something completely amazing, something that is as relevant today in 2015 as it was 2,000 years ago. With this outlook I try to impress on my students, and anyone who will listen, how critical review and reflection are. One of the amazing experiences of the Institute was to see so many amazing educators on very unique journeys. Still, no matter how unique we are, there was always something to learn from one another. Some of the best discoveries I had at the Institute were in conversation with a kindergarten teacher and a university professor. In the end we all shared the same focus on not just where we are, but where we are going.

We Are In This Together:

"Let me know how I can help." This was a mantra at the institute, and everyone was serious about it. It seemed that every time I shared a story, a struggle, a dream, there was someone at the ADE Institute who could help me. It really felt like a great big family of educators and this is something that I know will keep going throughout the year and beyond. It was humbling, inspiring, and outright exciting to interact with so many talented and creative experts who want to share more than just ideas, but their time and effort to help me grow as well as my students.

We are Advocates:

The four pillars of being an Apple Distinguished Educator is that we are Authors, Advisors, Ambassadors, and Advocates. For me, it was the idea of advocacy that hit home. As a Chassidic Orthodox Rabbi, I must admit that I was very nervous about attending the Institute for a number of reasons. The challenges of the Sabbath, access to Kosher food, and some of the cultural differences made me unsure if I would "fit in". After speaking with Matt Baier on the phone prior to the Institute, these worries simply melted away. Not only did I feel welcomed and supported, I felt integral. I felt that the diverse and unique educators at the Institute is what makes the Apple Distinguished Educator community so great.

The Apple Distinguished Educator Institute was unlike anything I have every experienced. I know that it is the spring board for amazing friendships, collaboration, and a driving force that will make a difference for the teachers and students that I support.

Now the next stage in this journey...

My One Best Thing

Interactive Book titled, "Students Teaching Students Is Totally Awesome".

None to One: Thoughts On Year One of 1:1

TheTechRabbi

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Imagine, a school where every student has a mobile device. Freed from the chains of classroom walls, outdated textbooks, and the grip of an all-knowing authoritarian teacher. A place where students carve out their own destiny through thoughtful and innovative learning experiences that not only result in a gain of knowledge, but character and life experience as well. Now wake up. Welcome to an edtech fairytale that simply does not exist – yet.

We all want to be there, but the question is how?

Since spending $1 billion dollars doesn't guarentee success, and no amount of passion and determination will launch a costly technology project into reality, how is a school able to harness the power of mobile technology as a learning tool in a way that supports authentic learning?

How we did it

There is no magic formula for success. Every school culture is different and the Director of Educational Technology has little to do with an organic and sustainable 1:1 environment. During the 2013-2014 school year, we launched phase one of our iPad Program distributing 130 iPads to faculty and students, as well as a Macbook Mobile Lab with 30 laptops. This coming fall we will launch phase two adding another 110 iPad devices.

This is what we did, and how we did it (and didn't).

Professional Development:

I worked with a handful of educators for a full year supporting carefully guided projects with a set of 10 iPads. Students were always two or three to one, and no project launched without careful planning and focus on learning objectives that kept the iPad in check as a tool and not a solution. In June and August before the fall launch, we had a mandatory three day iPad Bootcamp for all 4th through 8th grade faculty led by our principle, Jason Ablin, and myself. Faculty learned how to use an iPad through collaborative projects that demonstrated the iPad's power as a learning tool and helped build confidence for faculty that would have these devices in the hands of their students on a regular basis.

1:1 Student Launch:

This is an area where schools need to be very careful. No amount of teacher buy-in, and parent support can make this program a success without the students. When we toured Hillbrook in Los Gatos, Don Orth shared with us how they release iPads into the wild. It's a method that we did not use, but retroactively wish we did and plan to use in the future. Instead of handing iPads to students and then working on digital citizenship, literacy, and expectations of learning, they flipped that process. Based on his advice, our fall 2014-2015 launch will be as follows.

During the first 30 days of school, students in the 1:1 iPad Program will work towards a educational technology certification that will demonstrate their proficiency in Digital Literacy with the iPad and Google Apps, as well as Digital Citizenship and 21st-Century Competencies. Students will not be able to take their iPad home until they become certified. In addition to the basic certification, student will have an opportunity to get certified as a student technology leader.

This past year we launched 1:1 iPads after a full day workshop with students and 1 parent. We had Lori Getz come 3 times to speak with students and parents on the social and emotional challenges and benefits of technology and internet use. We offered "Tech Cafe" events for parents as well. During the year, I taught the Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship curriculum to classes culminating in me becoming a Common Sense Media Certified Educator.

This process worked well, but the soft launch seems to offer better opportunity for conversation about how we use, and would like to use technology.

Faculty Support:

This is another crucial area. Workshops are great, but the faculty in the first two years needs to know there is someone in the building that is supporting them above and beyond. I work with faculty members daily supporting them in integrating iPad technology into current curriculum, as well as build up confidence to create new projects using the SAMR Model, ISTE & UNESCO Standards, and Gartner's Hype Cycle. Together we documented our plan, our challenges, and closely record the process from start to finish. At the end of the project, we debriefed to determine how to better manage the project in the future.

Digital Literacy:

I worked with faculty and students on digital literacy.

I am a true believer that our students are digital natives, and do not need to be trained on how to operate technology devices, but they, without question, need guidance on efficient, organized, and focused uses of technology.

Thank G-d, we have an amazing and truly innovative faculty. Their willingness to grow as educators, as well as find new ways to help students explore, is the key ingredient in the success of any type of program that supports education. Stay tuned for Phase 2 this fall.

The Invisible iPad - Part II

TheTechRabbi

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Invisible Technology in Theory is powerful. Its practical application for educators can be challenging, frustrating, and fill even the most confident learning facilitator with doubt. Invisible Technology empowers its user to be independent, collaborative, and truly shift learning into the 21st century. How do we measure its success? Is there a definitive technology yardstick to build confidence not only in the student, but in the teacher as well? What are our goals and skills we wish our students to acquire, develop, and reflect upon?

If our goal to create an army of App Savvy iPad Aficionados then we have utterly failed.

We are not trying to create students that successfully use technology, because they don't actually need us for that. We have seen the viral videos of toddlers successfully executing in app purchases on their favorite game, and their digital literacy skills will only increase with their exposure to new technologies. My colleague Yossie Frankel stated it simply that,

 We cannot confuse Digital Literacy (ICT) with 21st Century Competencies. 

If we do, we rob our students of what we really can offer them, which is the ability to communicate, think critically, collaborate, solve problems, and create dynamic ways of internalizing information and sharing it with others. This is what our place is in 21st century learning. Yes, we will need to support them with certain technology skill building, suach as keyboarding skills, app fluency (Greg Kulowiec), best practices of sharing and store, and the certain nuances of utilizing technology tools, but this isnt a class or a workshop.

Students don't need theoretical workshops, they want hands on action with a purpose.

As I wrote in my previous article, when we teach someone to effectively and properly use traditional tools, our reason is not for the tool itself but for what we are able to achieve. No one gets excited over using a welder, but its ability to connect difference pieces together to create something unique and useful from raw material, is where its value as a tool really shines. Our challenge with technology like the iPad is that it has so many different abilities, that the user is faced with a real dilemma of losing sight of what the tool accomplishes, for the experience of using the tool. 

Before we even begin to think about how and where we place the iPad in our learning process, we have to concretize our goals, possible challenges, and the planned path of process. If we reach a point during the project and hit a road block, it can be flustered to not have even a rough outline to backtrack to a clear point of success. This all starts with identifying which skills we will need to use. In elementary and middle school, these skills need to be clear and simple so students know that right now they are "collaborating" or "problem solving". We can expect these skills to be sub conscience as adults, but this is not realistic for most students below or even at high school level. At each grade level the following Learning and Innovation Skills can be acquired by students and built upon as they learn and grow.

  • Learning and Innovation Skills (the 7 C’s) + (2 P's)

    • Creativity/Contribution

    • Critical Thinking

    • Communication

    • Collaboration/Cooperation

    • Connection

    • Community

    • Continual Learning

    • Culture

    • Problem Solving

    • Personalized Learning

Once our skill sets are assessed, we then can use these skills in our PBL experiences. Bloom's Taxonomy, ISTE 21st Century Standards, UNESCO Competency  Framework, are all great sources to teach these foundational skills. Many confuse the SAMR Model as a way to learn. The SAMR Model, is not viable method for learning. Its success is in measuring and assessing effective use of technology in our learning.

The challenge for educators, especially Directors of Educational Technology, Innovation, etc. is that we need to not limit how our teachers teach, but to focus on the foundational skills, and provide a clear and concrete formula for how different technological devices and applications will enhance these skills and give a learner the ability to create a product that will change the world.

How to translate this vision to a tangible process is a challenge. In the next few weeks I will be featuring guest articles from faculty members that have successfully integrated technology into learning.

Im having trouble locating the iPad though, must be that invisible thing.

Tech Tip - HDMI Audio Issues

TheTechRabbi

HDMI is a must for anyone needing to share high quality audio and visual on the big screen. Oddly enough many of us have issues getting the audio to go through the HDMI Cable on Macbook Pro & Air Laptops. The solution is an easy one, but many dont know where to look in the first place. Rest assured, a solution to this challenge is provided below. Enjoy. I hope to continue to share tech tips with you all.

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