professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Questions are still burning

I am beginning to think that I like the format of these posts. They help me think through something I am reading or seeing or experiencing. For instance, today I read an article about e-learning: A school is trying out the concept of designating some days as e-learning days, days where students work individually on their iPads at their own pace and in whatever order they prefer. The story is rather scarce on details, so naturally I have some burning questions.

1. Is this all done at school? It appears to be so since the article mentions that the campus is wired. But thee was some sort of sub-headline somewhere that alluded to a good use for snow days. So, I have the question. And the concomitant question: if it is also at home, what kind of access do kids have?

2. What sort of programs are available for students? Can they select apps and add them on their own or is everything owned by the school and driven by the company hired to set up this program? Can the kids use the tablets for other things?

3. Do kids then stay in one place all day on e-learning day? Are they allowed to wander? Is there a bell system where they can move from place to place but within parameters?

4. What role do teachers play in uploading the "learning"? Are these articles followed by worksheets and projects? How does the e-learning differ significantly from the "normal" stuff?

5. What sort of research is in place to measure success/failure/change?

Finally, I think back to my time as a middle school teacher when we worked in pods (teams) that were interdisciplinary, where team time was scheduled in blocks and teachers could allocate that time as desired, where kids could move at their own pace (I also taught in an IGE, Individually Guided Education, school). The district in which I worked did away with this concept because it was cheaper to departmentalize, put kids into individual classes, not worry about keeping them together as a team. And so MIDDLE school became JUNIOR HIGH school (see the immediate difference?).I recall students working across disciplines, collaboration, less direction and more choice. And I wonder if an iPad e-learning could substitute for a true middle school experience? I think not.

And a PS: anyone who knows me, knows that I love technology and gadgets. I had my iPod, iPad mini and smart phone with me all weekend at the conference in Houston. I carried a charger with me as well. I tweeted and posted and blogged (and even did some grading at night). So, my questions are not about tech at all.
Tags: choice, e-learning, tablets, technology
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