Visionary of Apple Dies

Steve Jobs, the ‘visionary’ and co-founder of Apple sadly died last night. I think we can all say he was a great innovator who saw the way technology was moving long before many of his competitors did. His ideas and vision have been a great help to education and the way we see the world. His products have been brilliant for the world of teaching and learning.

In his own words he said; ‘that’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.’

Steve Jobs was born out of wedlock, put up for adoption at birth, dropped out of college, then changed the world. What’s your excuse? Thanks Steve for all you did.

The Apple Revolution

Over the last twelve months I have read and reviewed the merits of the Apple iPhone. Yesterday, after several hours (!) of decision making I finally gave in and signed up. Already I have seen the benefits this could potentially bring to my teaching and the students learning.

Apple themselves state that ‘technology shapes the way students interact with the world. So it only makes sense to teach them with the tools and media they’re already using. Creating digital content is truly simple, web research is quick and secure, and virtual collaboration is safe for young learners.’

The applications that the iPhone can offer is changing daily with an ever increasing amount of choice. Many education blogs have been written about the positive and negative factors mobile phones can offer education. Ollie Bray, National Adviser for Learning and Technology Futures at Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS), has been backing the use of mobile technology for some time in Scotland and has written several blogs and articles on this very subject. Back in January Dave Rogers, Curriculum Leader for Geography at the Priory School in Portsmouth, wrote a great blog about all the features the iPhone offers education. He clearly explains each app and its merits in teaching.

I Education Apps Review (IEAR) is a dedicated website for educational bloggers who contribute reviews of current educational apps available in the iTunes store. This is a great way to find out which apps are available for your subject area and what works for you.

The technology available to us as teachers is immense and is changing at a rate faster than we are able to keep up with. Students and pupils are far and away ahead of us as teachers when it comes to technology. As a teacher we are forever changing our teaching methods and resources. Mobile phones could help enrich a subject and make it more widely available for all students to participate. They have so much potential for the classroom. Mobile phones will enhance a pupils/students learning. They will give students skills that they will use in the wider world. They will bring benefits that will develop our own teaching. I am very much looking forward to working with my new piece of technology and improving my teaching.

The Book is Dead, Long Live the Book

So it is finally here – the iPad. My initial thoughts were not that good to be honest, but with further research and looking at different points of view I am now starting to see its merits. Firstly, I don’t think it is the nail in the coffin for the traditional book. Most people are very used to this successful formula and will probably not change. But for education purposes it could be successful and make reading more widely available.

Apple has been very clever in the sense that they have announced partnerships with Penguin, Harper-Collins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and the Hachette Book Group. This enables Apple to set up their own in-house iBooks store like the successful iTunes that is currently available for music. Many people do find this method of shopping very appealing (especially young people).

The text could be enhanced by audio and visuals with the option of linking to the internet. This could help with many disaffected learners in the classroom.

The UK price for an iPad have not been announced but speculation has been around £400-£700 depending on the Wi-Fi scheme chosen and model. This is not cheap and I wonder if discounts would apply to schools?

Would Steve Jobs be willing for my school to trial some out?

Mobile Learning…Ringing in the Classroom

I was particularly pleased to see that Google has released it’s Google phone last week. The market needs competition. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of Apple’s iPhone and find their app’s superb. But as we are all aware technology is changing and improving all the time. Apple released their iPhone in June 2007. What can mobile phones offer as tools in the classroom? Are mobile phones the future of the classroom?

Personally I think the answer is yes. They have their merits as a tool within the classroom, but used in the correct mature manner. I openly invite a mobile phone company to let my department trial a set of phones to see their potential. Any offers?

Is the Google Android the new phone of the future?

Is it better than the iPhone?

Is the Google Android suited for schools?

Are iPhones the future for the classroom?