Monday, June 17, 2013


Every student having ownership of a device in a one-to-one environment is widely considered to be a best practice and has been for about a decade now; the only obstacle has been funding and political will, and those barriers lower yearly. 

It's funny, I've taught OSX apps to students for 7 years at Lab School, and I thought I was pretty cool. Our kids walked out of MIddle School having been deeply exposed to HTML, Flash, Sketchup, iMovie, Google Docs, and Scratch. When the iPad came out a few years ago and I scoffed -- this was a toy; our students deserved a pro tool. 

Looking back, after talking to former students years later, my class was not as useful to students as I liked to think. They did not learn the technology on their own device; they learned it in my lab on school desktops, and they would not use much of the software after middle school. In addition, OSX is really hard to learn; try to teach every thirteen year old "file management" and what it means to put a folder inside a folder inside a folder, and see how far you get.

Next year, my boss blew my Lab up, I'm now a tech integrator in the classrooms of teachers rather than in my old lab, most kids will have their own iPads, and after initial trepidation (and more than a little of my tech snobbery) I embrace the change. In fact, I see no compelling reason to even expose a student to OSX  ***until after middle school.*** If a student is not using Photoshop or Final Cut, then there's no compelling reason for them to use a full-featured computer. Students should only be exposed to OSX (or Windows) on an elective basis  (i.e. if they take a Photoshop elective or a film elective). iOS (and Android) on a tablet is limited in functionality, but it can do 90% of what a younger student needs, and the other 10% can be worked around with a little creativity. (I'm still not sure of a work-around for Sketchup on an iPad... but we'll see :-)

(image from

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