I wear many hats in my free lance career as a former theatre teacher turned consultant. I still remain active as a teaching artist, I consult for several projects in arts integration and professional development for arts educators and I also work for a small local theatre and serve on their board. Having studied the iPad all summer only to determine that iLove it and iUse it daily (borrowing the iLingo from Chris and Apple) I was anxious to have a chance to really use it in my work places. That was easy to do since I have found that I can easily throw it into my purse so that it goes with me where ever I go. In fact I now refuse to own a purse that is smaller than iPad dimensions.
My first chance to really test it out in the field was at a meeting of the theatre Artistic committee. We were charged with choosing our upcoming season from several play suggestions. I had placed all of the possibilities on a Google doc spreadsheet and ranked them in several categories based on our theatre’s mission statement and dialogue at prior meetings. When I opened my iPad to refer to the document while we met, suddenly the entire group wanted to view the spreadsheet. It was easily passed around the room- complete with hot links to play descriptions, etc. and helped to focus the discussion and make our work easier.
Next the iPad appeared again at one of my consulting jobs. I was in a room filled with teachers, principals, superintendents and Arts Council folk- introducing the new project to the host schools. Our tech expert was sharing the ways we would use technology to document our work and communicate and we were discussing the types of data needed and how that data would be used. I was able to bring up our Arts Educator 2.0 documentation and share some examples of wikis and blogs used by the teachers as well as some preliminary data. The iPad was passed around the table, allowing each person to click on the samples that they were most interested in. What a great active demonstration of the possibilities.
Next the iPad appeared at a coaching session for a private monologue student. The young man is searching for material to prepare his college audition and was struggling to choose from a series of classic monologues (a requirement), and is extremely intimidated by Shakespeare. I handed him a personal favorite of mine that I thought would really show off his talent- the monologue from Shakespeare’s Henry V in which Harry rallies the troops. He read it aloud, stumbling and obviously a bit bewildered as to why I offered this one. Then, inspired, I whipped out my iPad and brought up Kenneth Branagh performing that same monologue on You Tube- and he got it! What a tremendous teaching moment! What a dynamic and effective tool!