So I was attending the iPads and Inquiry Session at the Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference (kudos to Mara and Camille for a great presentation!) and at the end Beth Cornell ran up to say hello. For those who don’t know Beth Cornell, she is the former PA Arts and Humanities Consultant turned Classrooms of the Future person who just bursts with energy, creativity and knowledge. She also is a visionary in terms of tools and techniques for 21st century connected classrooms. So… when Beth runs up to you and says “You have to see this presentation!” you listen.
And, well, Beth was right. She guided me to a presentation by Marco Torres of the San Fernando School District entitled “iPad: Personalizing Learning, Creating and Sharing.” The speaker was dynamic, engaging and personable, the tools were easy to use, dynamic and best of all – mostly free. Finally, the topic was near and dear to my heart- using technology in creative, economical ways to engage learners and allow them to more easily create, collaborate and communicate!
He also used a really cool inexpensive document camera that was extremely effective projecting from his iPhone with little or no glare. This little guy was an Ipevo camera- lots of power in a little package for $69.00.
Simple. Effective. Creative. Earth shaking.
Marco’s philosphy was like this- with huge results.
Case in point: His students took on urban blight using iPhones and aps, linking an ap that offered easy access links to state representatives with a grass roots campaign of folks taking cell phone images of run down neighborhoods. The result? Folks could instantly send an image to their legislators and they knew who to contact. The neighborhood got cleaned up, his kids were photographed with the mayor of Los Angeles and he called it simply “playing with aps”.
Marco placed the focus directly on learning, and teaching kids to love learning. His advice to teachers was: “create tasks to which you and the students don’t have the answers so kids have to go out and find this information”. He suggested we use technology to grab kids interest, increase their ability to communicate and explore their world.
Among the most stunning of the aps Marco demonstrated:
Pencast – this ap works to wirelessly download any notes or recordings taken with a Live Scribe pen to your iPad
My Congress – this ap allows you to input the name of your home town and get a list of your elected representatives, their contact information, election results, video of them speaking and their voting record.
Discover – this ap turns wikipedia pages into a magazine- Flipboard for wikipedia!
Thumbjam– this beautiful music ap turns your iPad into a virtual symphony. Choose the key and instrument and learn to play. Marco did an amazing cello solo that blew the audience away to close his wonderful presentation.
Thanks Beth, you were right!