Teacher: 3 takeaways from iPad conference

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Here’s an indication of how fast technology may change education.

It’s only 2 1/2 years since Apple introduced the iPad. Last week, the group EdTechTeacher held its first iPad Summit, bringing together more than 500 educators and experts at Harvard Medical School to talk about this single device —  what it can do to revolutionize education.

“The conference was one of the most innovative and exhilarating experiences I have had as an educator,” says Jennifer Carey, a teacher from Fort Worth, Texas.

Carey blogged about the conference at her website. And she wrote an essay for the Powerful Learning Practice blog, summarizing her findings.

Her biggest takeaways:

The iPad is “is simply a tool – it is not the magical, shiny object that will innovate education.”

To be effective, the iPad must be more than a replacement program for, say, a word processor, but imaginatively used for tasks that weren’t possible before, such as creating digital stories on the fly.

And there was this insight, which especially connects with our work at Innovations for Learning: “Any integration of iPads in the classroom must come with professional development.”

You cannot simply “add iPads and stir.” Administrators must be prepared to fully support the faculty and students before any significant technology initiative is going to be successful.

Simply handing out iPads to teachers and students (and going over the security protocols) isn’t going to accelerate learning in your school.

Educators need to become skillful at using these tools and then think deeply about how to integrate them into the learning environment in powerful ways.

Here’s a wrap-up of the entire conference. A second conference is already being planned for April, in Atlanta.

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