It’s not always easy to practice what you preach. I am a teacher and an edtech geek. I can say the same of my husband. We are HUGE supporters of technology integration in the classroom. In particular we have both had a large part in 1:1 initiatives. What do I mean by 1:1? I mean in the classroom we believe that students should have access to their own devices; or one device per student. We’ve practiced what we preach in the classroom as a 1:1 (my fifth graders each had their own netbooks) elementary teacher and a technology integration specialist (hubby), we realized that we were not fully equipped to practice what we preached at home. What does that mean, you ask? That means that we did not provide a device for our own children.
Thinking back to my childhood I realized that my parents provided devices for me. Yes, even back then (in the stone age) Texas Instruments created the Speak and Spell.
I remember fondly having this and the Speak and Math in the backseat on family trips and even in the waiting room during a trip to urgent care. I know that my parents purchased these devices for the educational value that they provided and I can argue that my basic math and spelling skills were improved. I might also argue that this was my early introduction to 1:1 devices.
Stepping back into the present, we needed to get with the program and start practicing what we preach with our own kids. So, a few months ago, we decided to jump in and provide an educational device for our own children. Of course there are tons of options out there, but our goals in purchasing a device for our children focused around two rules that we wanted to put in place.
1. Use the device primarily as a tool, not a toy.
2. Create something at least once a week.
We can joke that this is the part where you need to feel sorry for our children having parents that are both teachers. However, being that we are both educational technology people, we felt very strongly about purchasing a tablet for our children and putting these simple rules in place. We had some experience evaluating different tablets for educational purposes, and as a result were most interested in purchasing an iPad for our kiddos. Now, for those outside of the edtech realm, we realize that this is a huge jump. Many of our children’s friends have the familiar Leapster or DS and there is nothing wrong with that. We wanted our primary focus to be education based and while you can find educational value in all sorts of things, we felt the best match would be an iPad. We believed that even with the sticker shock that I was feeling (and fear that the device may take a beating), Apple was exceptional at providing a great (and constantly growing) selection of Educational Apps.
That being said, our decision was made. We found a returned and barely used iPad 2 with the protective cover already on it. The gently used discounted price helped satisfy the thrifty mom side of me and we went ahead and made the purchase. This means our children are not on a 1:1 plan (1 child and one device) at home, but do a great job with 2:1 (2 children sharing 1 device) and taking turns for when 1:1 is needed (or wanted).
*More to come on iPadding with our kids! Thanks for reading @edtechmomma