Since this is the first post, it is probably a good place to make introductions. This is the Gadget-Blog, by GadgetProfs. My name is Brian Tittl, and I, along with Matt Daniels and Adam Dane formed GadgetProfs about a year ago after attending an iPad conference. The conference was on incorporating the iPad into the high school classroom, and we went hoping to gain some insight into how to manage a classroom full of iPads. The three of us teach at an all-boys high school in Toledo, Ohio. The previous year, our school implemented a 1:1 program, putting an iPad in the hands of all of our nearly 1,000 students, 6th-12th grade. At the conference, we were hoping for some insights on lesson plans, classroom management, and tips on more effectively using our devices in the classroom. What we received was a list of about 60 iPad apps, many of which we had already tried and discarded in favor of other solutions. The conference was an utter waste of time, and we left thinking that we could do better.
About a week later, the three of us met to discuss forming a company that would provide real training for teachers on how to effectively use technology in the classroom. We didn’t want to provide lists of apps, but real strategies that teachers could use. We didn’t want to be cheerleaders for particular pieces of technology, but present the unvarnished truth… the good and the bad… about implementing a 1:1 program. We are an ideal team. Matt is currently the coordinator of our school’s iPad program. He is a cheerleader for the iPad at our school, but recognizes its limitations and the challenges inherent in a massive 1:1 program. I am (and have always been) a tech geek. I got my first computer when I was 6, a Commodore 64 that booted to a blue screen where I learned to program in Basic. I am an early adopter of many different technologies and I like to try out new gadgets and discover their strengths and weaknesses. Adam has experience in programming, and is also a bit more skeptical of technology’s role in education. Where I am invariably gung-ho about new forms of technology, Adam will bring up the all-important “why” questions. ”Why should we use this technology? What does it add to our students’ education? How is this better or more effective than other methods?” This has been a great asset to our programs, because these are the questions that a large subset of teachers are asking, and this is the most important discussion that we could be having about our programs.
So we began. We put up a website, set out a mailer and after about two months of preparation hosted our first iPad seminar. Representatives from about eight area schools attended, and it was largely a success. We have since given other presentations at area schools, and have expanded our repertoire to not only iPads, but Chromebooks, Windows and Mac laptops, Content Management Systems (Moodle, Canvas) and SMARTBoards. I think the secret to our success so far is that we are teachers. We are in the trenches everyday, trying to make a 1:1 program work at our school. This gives us special insight into classroom management and causes us to focus not just on one specific technology, but on what works in the classroom. This blog is the beginning of a new phase in our development. We see this site as a place for teachers to go to share ideas about 1:1 implementation, to discuss the potential benefits and pitfalls, and to gain some new strategies for their own classrooms. We invite you to comment and talk about your own programs, what works, and what doesn’t.
In the upcoming weeks, we will be adding a lot to this site. We hope to add discussion forums, webinars, screencasts, and a lot of other material. Some of these will be free, and some will be available for a nominal fee (for which you will receive CEU credit). And, as always, if you school is implementing a 1:1 program, or your teachers need training on other pieces of technology consider bringing us in. Information about our training programs and packages is available on our website.
Thanks for reading! Check back soon for more from the Gadget-Blog.