Apple and other technology companies continue to make gadgets that spark our imagination and take our money. In fact, I have a strong desire to purchase an iPhone 6 right now but my rational side (and wife) are helping me to keep my wallet in my pocket. Am I addicted? Do I need more balance in my life?
As I reflect on these questions, I think back over my recent academic journey. I just recently finished my dissertation regarding the use of mobile technology for classroom instruction. (If you would like to read it, click here.) I spent two years observing and working with two Christian schools as they rolled out the use of iPads for classroom instruction. The iPad has been beneficial in improving classroom instruction and student engagement. Both of these schools now have mobile technology in the hands of their students and the devices are used daily in every classroom. The administration, faculty, and students are actively moving forward with the use of mobile technology to improve learning.
I am currently teaching a graduate class for Central Unified School District teachers who are pursuing a master’s degree in educational technology. Central Unified has started to implement a 1-to-1 tablet program this year for all of their students. (To find out more about the program, click here.) The district is committed to providing access to the technology for all students and improving teaching and learning through the use of the technology. The teachers are working diligently to transform their teaching and student learning. I look forward to watching the teacher and student progress as FPU continues to helps educate their educational technology leaders.
Yet … there is still a small voice inside of me that urges some caution as educators use these devices with their students. Don’t get me wrong … I am a fan and a geek but I am concerned about balance as we embrace digital technologies. We have all seen the family in a restaurant who sit in silence as they all gaze into their devices. I would encourage each of us to continue to be aware of this danger and continue to talk with our children (and ourselves) on how to establish a healthy balance in our lives. Each day, we may need to say “Goodnight iPad!”
By the way, if you would like to read my previous thoughts on mobile technology in the classroom, here you go …