May 11, 2011

"Disruptive Learning" - iPad visits the Lab

I have been bringing my new iPad to school to get feedback and reactions. Today a class of 4th graders were enjoying some "choice" time with the emphasis on creativity. Primarily they selected Scratch, Lego Digital Designer, Tux Paint (symmetry & string designs), and GarageBand. In the midst of the low key buzz of exploration I brought out my iPad. The interest was huge and I got to hear who had an iPad at home, who was saving up for one, who had an iPhone, etc. I was curious about apps they use and I heard, "I like Carnivores, but you wouldn't have that," "Oh, download Sheep!", "Search for Juicy Fruit and Candy Box"! As I looked up the apps they wanted it became clear very quickly that they were heading me into "Entertainment" and "Arcade Games" and not anything "Educational". A student found the Uno app and immediately started a game. Several wanted to join in and my questions in my own mind started: Is this better in any way than using the cards? Would it be easier to take out an iPad or a deck of cards? How does the collaboration change around an iPad vs. a set of cards? and so on...

There was a lot of hubbub in the room and we certainly "disrupted" the calm of the lab by gathering around the iPad and chattering. I need to do more of this as we explore the potential for iPads. Beyond the high level of interest from students we need to focus on "a purpose with a plan" that is the expectation in our school.

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