iPad: Challenging the “sage on the stage” teaching model

I wrote two previous posts (here and here) about using the iPad to teach the educational technology class that I am teaching this fall. The first class session was Monday, August 30th. Because of labor day, this first class was the only one thus far.

On the first day of class, I typically review select parts of the course syllabus. I have always done this by projecting the syllabus either from the desktop in the classroom or from my laptop. Students would follow along using the hard copies (I wish I wouldn’t have to waste the paper, but I do. Students tell me they prefer a hard copy of the syllabus). My need to scroll through the projected syllabus to control which page appeared on the screen always kept me near the front of the room. Usually I was standing.

I never really thought about the tone this may have set for my courses. The rest of the class sessions rarely involved me standing up front lecturing, and yet, I wonder what precedent this set when I took the “sage on the stage” position during the first class session.

This semester was different. I decided not to project the syllabus and to view it on my iPad instead. I talked through parts of the syllabus while sitting in a circle with my students. The students had their hard copy or could follow along digitally using the syllabus that I had uploaded to our classroom website.

Unlike every other course I have taught, this class is small. I have five students registered for the course and only three showed up the first day of class. I would have felt absolutely ridiculous standing up front projecting something to three students. My iPad allowed me to be both mobile and digital. While I could have also accomplished this with my laptop, the iPad allows me to sit among my students without the barrier of a screen that always seems to create more distance than I intend.

What I now wonder is how my iPad usage (and my students’ increasing ability to view and interact with course documents on their own mobile devices) will affect how often and what I project in the classroom. I wonder if anyone else has considered how iPads and student mobile devices are potentially decreasing the need to view a large shared image.

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About Leslie Gates

I like colors without names.
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