In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's there are few. 
- Zen Concept of Shoshin

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Seeing the way, paving the way, or just in the way

Sometimes the pieces in a puzzle are easily seen, while other times they get easily lost amongst themselves. This can also happen in project management and leading innovation and change.

While talking today with a group of EdTech leaders about innovating our classrooms by integrating iPads and even iPad Minis into instruction, concern was raised about students' inability to easily type documents like they can using a computer. Our conversation was focused on bringing iPads into classrooms for 1:1 learning and how these devices are truly only devices, yet they have the potential to open new opportunities for innovative teaching and learning that we cannot achieve utilizing traditional tools. And, we reverted to discussing the capability for typing.

This is not a new topic of conversation for me, and I sometimes also question should we be looking at tablets or traditional computers for our digital learning initiatives.

iPads have keyboards. I'm using one right now to hunt and peck my way through this post. It is a qwerty layout, yet I am not able to touch type the way I do on a traditional keyboard. So what? I make fewer typing mistakes on the iPad, and auto-correct helps me when I do.

The question at hand is will students be limited or hindered by having an iPad keyboard verses a laptop keyboard? I don't think so.

I don't think students will need to enter information or type using traditional methods or tools, so let's pave their way by getting out of their way. We don't like to see kids text typing, because it isn't the way we learned and isn't how we think it should be.

In the past when typewriters became the tool we created classes to teach kids how to type. We really don't need to teach kids how to text type, but they can teach us. My students taught me how to use the T-9 keypad on my phone a few years back. I needed the instruction, not them.

Why are we hanging onto typing? Besides, if we really are trying to see the future, it involves speaking instead of typing.

We should be more concerned about being able to teach kids how to speak clearly and enunciate so their dictation is transcribed accurately, because it won't be long before our devices don't have any keyboards. Siri is just the beginning. And save your energy for the big fight. Eliminating cursive handwriting will be next.
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