Friday, March 28, 2014

MacWorld|iWorld 2014

Hmmm...been a while since I posted anything. Probably my recognition of the size of my readership. I mean besides me, thanks to the other five people who have read my blog. But, MacWorld always inspires me to write something. Just attended a session entitled The Working Macs: Creative Workflows from Professional Creatives. Interestingly, much of it was devoted to the iPad, not solely the Mac. The panel consisted of a photographer, a musician, and a digital artist. It was the musician who struck a chord with me (sorry). As always, I listen to these talks with an educator's ear. While there are talks devoted to the iPad in education at MacWorld, most sessions are not and I try to distill them for their meaning in relation to education. I've long since drunk the Kool Aid when it comes to technology, especially the iPad, in education. What has frustrated me over the years - the past 30 + years - is the slowness with which educators (schools) adapt to technological advances that clearly enhance the classroom experience for kids. The musician put it succinctly; it's difficult to accept what the iPad can do in art, music, and photography especially when one might have spent 30 years perfecting technique in these fields. Suddenly, with the help of technology, "ordinary" people can create art. While it doesn't seem fair - and I certainly respect the efforts people put in to achieve their expertise - it is the way of the future. Moreover, it simply makes more people more creative. This is a good thing. Just as eBooks can help more people read more, iPad cameras, art Apps, and music Apps help more of us express our appreciation for what is around us.

We experience the same dilemma in mathematics and science. Many teachers are loathe to allow CAS-capable calculators or Apps in their classrooms. "After all," they reason, "I had to learn how to do complicated integrals by hand, so should my students." We need to get beyond this or we are doomed to continue teaching the same curriculum we have taught for the past 100 years.