Sunday, April 21, 2013

Unintended Consequences

As I mentioned in Distinguishing Our School, we have initiated two major efforts to distinguish our school's integration of educational technology.  In addition to publishing an iBook which catalogues some of our best practices and innovations, we are going to conduct survey research that measures our students progress towards meeting the ISTE-NETS for Students.

 Katie B.'s home page & original photo
When our sub-committee was recently meeting to write this survey, our president, Dr. Cheryl Delaney-Kreger, made an interesting observation. She noted that iPad had empowered our ninth graders in ways that we had not foreseen.  For example, students who may not have stood out as academically talented in conventional ways, had self-nominated themselves to be iWizards and were showing exceptional aptitude plying digital skills.  Also, in new ways,  we are seeing students take direction and responsibility for their own learning.

Of course Mercy has always celebrated a great range of student talents.  We have also seen students assume self-direction for their learning in various disciplines and programs.  But it occurs to me that the iPad has facilitated great possibilities in both of these areas because it is so easy to use.  One does not need considerable training with the tool before one can harness its powers.  In other words, this year our ninth graders were more or less able to "hit the ground running" with our technology.  And they were fortunate to find themselves in an environment where technology was was already part of the DNA of our instructional environment.

I am really looking forward to seeing how we stack up against the NETS.  I'll let you know this summer!

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