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Helping teachers grasp mobile learning’s possibilities

By Tom Daccord
September 3rd, 2013

In constructing ed-tech professional development, the focus should not be on teaching apps, but on helping educators grasp the possibilities inherent in mobile, personalized, and differentiated learning environments.

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“By facilitating a self-directed and immersive experience that is supported with personalized guidance, we are creating a learning environment that we hope teachers will emulate in their own tech-infused classrooms,” Daccord writes.

“Leading Change” column, September 2013 edition of eSchool News—In my last column, I argued that schools are in need of real and meaningful iPad professional development. While many schools focus on the “nuts and bolts” of basic features in mobile apps, incorporating iPads effectively into instruction requires creative thinking and forethought.

Although the iPad (and other mobile technology) is largely intuitive, incorporating it effectively into teaching and learning is by no means self-evident. While teachers readily understand how to take a picture, shoot a video, or open a PDF, few immediately grasp the implications of these operations for transforming assessment, modeling exemplary practices, and nurturing creative self-expression. Many struggle to conceive of effective iPad learning beyond their four walls or in networked communities.

In constructing ed-tech professional development, the focus should not be on teaching apps, but on helping educators grasp the instructional capabilities that exist in mobile, personalized, and differentiated learning environments.

Professional development should inspire teachers to integrate the iPad as a portable media creation device that manifests student learning and nurtures essential skills for our digital age. Mobile environments that empower students to assume more control over their learning and demonstrate understanding through various media help embolden students to be proactive consumers and creative problem solvers.

(Next page: A successful model of professional development for mobile learning)

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