Since this blog is my professional voice to my personal learning network, I’ll tell you a little known fact about me: one of my other passions is to Stand Up Paddle (SUP). I was SUP surfing today back in my home break of Cronulla, Australia and I was thinking about the professional development we were lining up back in Abu Dhabi. Here’s my thoughts out there standing on the ocean…
When a surfer goes out on a reef break for the first time, they are often timid and will stick to the outside. The reef can be imposing for most and there’s an element of unknown about it. After they’ve observed it and ridden the break a few times, they learn to use the break and incorporate it in their surfing. Reef breaks can be quite standard in the waves they produce. On a particular day with a particular swell and wind direction, surfers know the waves will break on the reef in a very similar place. They can use the reef for their surfing.
Thinking back on the professional development myself and Jen McCoy (@dubaijen) are organizing slowly, we are trying to get educators (surfers) comfortable with iPads and Macs (the reef). There’s a lot of teachers who will teach classes of students with iPads in August or even next February so there isn’t an immediate need for some faculty to use the iPad. Indeed, a number have told me that their iPad is still in it’s box.
We are embarking on efforts to encourage more personal use of the iPad in order to experience the iPad for things they’re interested in. We just organized a session where us and other confident iPad using faculty showed how we use the iPad in our personal lives. We showed them apps like Flipboard and Zite for reading, Snapseed and Instagram for photos, Twitter, Facebook and Pintrest for social media, and Urbanspoon and Kayak for travel. The list went on!!
The drop-by informal MarketPlace styled session was two days before the spring break holidays so faculty came with an open mind to see apps they might use or learn about during the break. Faculty saw the point that if they use the iPad personally, they may have confidence to use it while they teach.
Personalization of and connections with the iPad (or any piece of technology) is a crucial and essential step within the technology integration process. We’re going to hold a series of these sessions for educational and non-educational ways to include it in our teaching and non-teaching lives. We hope that confidence will grow as a result.