EdTech: Gap Between Possible and Practical

EdTech: Gap Between Possible and Practical

If you are a teacher and you are interested in or have tried to incorporate technology in your classroom, you’ll find these 2 articles interesting. The 1st is from Venture Beat covering the new Google Play for Education. It is followed by a post from Teachers With Apps on the same subject. At ForDyslexia we make educational apps for teachers, tutors and parents, so this issue is fundamental to our future. If you use educational apps we need to hear what you think. Please take a moment to share your point of view at the end of this post.  

Venture Beat article:

Google Play for Education could kill the iPad in schools

May 15, 2013 11:04 AM

Google released a major new education program today that organizes and manages the way teachers push apps, books, and other learning content to student tablets.

Technology changed the way we socialize, find new things to do, get directions, play games, date, work, read news, take pictures, and so much more. But some feel it hasn’t done enough for education. We’ve seen attempts to get new PCs in classrooms, and now there’s a big push for tablets in the hands of every student. But device costs along with theft and content management cause schools to shy away. Google’s Play for Education program may dramatically change all of this.

“When I go visit my kids’ classrooms, it looks pretty much exactly like it did when I went to school,” said Chris Yerga, Google’s engineering director at Google I/O. “Teachers told us that in education, there’s a huge gap between what’s possible with technology and what’s practical, especially with mobile technology. And then they told us it was Google’s job to fix this.”

He explained that teachers said Google should make an affordable Android tablet, content management tools, and app discovery tools. So Google is starting with the last two.

Google Play for Education is like an app store designed especially for teachers with some powerful management tools built-in. Teachers will be able to visit this app store and search by categories such as age-range and subject matter. If you are trying to teach math to a bunch of first graders, you can plug in those refinements and get back a list of apps made specifically for that group.

Teachers will also be able to see reviews from other teachers. After instructors select an app, Google Play for Education will push it out automatically to all the tablets associated with a defined Google Group of students.

That’s the catch — you’ll need to set up your entire classroom on Google Apps, buy Android tablets for all the students, and create a Google Group with the tablets hooked up. The only real issue here might be cost, as Google Apps are fairly easy to set up and many education institutions are already using them.

Schools are able to load accounts with funds for the app store, so a teacher can automatically deduct from that balance if they wish to license a classroom-amount of paid apps. Teachers will also be able to push out YouTube videos and books in the same way they do apps.

Apple over the last year has put a lot of emphasis on the role of iPads in schools. It has tested a number of different markets, and developers have created some very beautiful apps for interactive books and other learning software. But the program is lacking structure and, of course, iPads are also cost prohibitive for many schools.

Google Play for Education could have the right kind of management capabilities to make Apple step up its game, but only if it’s actually as easy to use as it seems.

The program will be available this fall, but app developers can start submitting apps by this summer.

Educators, we would love to hear your thoughts on whether Google Play for Educations is what you wanted from Google. Send us an e-mail!

Chris Yerda image via Google I/O livestream

Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2013/05/15/google-play-education/#6t5f53HRt6dA5wYU.99

Education and Technology Are About to BLOW

BY TEACHERS WITH APPS ON  · ADD COMMENT · BLOG

chris-yerda-google-ioTeachers With Appsrecently spoke with Amplify’s manager of content partners, he was excited as he alluded that education and technology are about to BLOW. We couldn’t agree more, as we see Amplify gearing up with a new, preloaded tablet specifically aimed toward schools. Imagine students immersed in curriculum as rich as the best interactive games and as demanding as the Common Core Standards. Math, ELA and Science.

Google’s announcement yesterday about releasing a major new education program that organizes and manages the way teachers upload books, and other learning content to student tablets could indeed kill the iPad in schools. A year ago I would have vehemently opposed this concept, as I thought that the iPad was the end-all and be-all. However, after working in a school with iPads in several grades, I have to think otherwise. Apps with analytic capabilities will allow teachers to manage whole classrooms and still provide individualized learning. What a boon for schools!

Google Play for Education could kill the iPad in schools

…Google Play for Education is like an app store designed especially for teachers with some powerful management tools built-in. Teachers will be able to visit this app store and search by categories such as age-range and subject matter. If you are trying to teach math to a bunch of first graders, you can plug in those refinements and get back a list of apps made specifically for that group. Read entire article at VentureBeat

Here is a list of my issues with iPads being integrated into the classroom setting:

  • Lack of teacher training
  • Schools infrastructure doesn’t hold up
  • Many schools’ iPads are controlled by IT Directors
  • iPads have uniform apps for each grade level, prohibits differentation
  • Most apps don’t have a user-friendly tracking system – data, data, data
  • Much of what is on the net is blocked, including all forms of social media.
  • Schools must use purchase orders materials; in-app purchases are not possible
  • Schools need the apps to be part of the Volume Purchase Program

If some big box companies want to enter into this market place, we welcome you with open arms. The concept of preloaded, ready to go, out of the box, is what schools are accustomed to. As long as the tablets are well designed with teachers and classrooms in mind throughout the development, I think they have a good chance of giving Apple a run for their money. My words of wisdom: The most essential piece is teacher training and I do believe teachers could teach other teachers within their own schools if they were given the time. Hire a teacher to train if the the district is too big. Lastly, EXCELLENT apps need to be installed on these devices. They need a long shelf life, they need to be versatile and when possible, cross-curriculum. Read this blog, An iPad is only as GOOD as the Content On It, written over a year ago.And remember, your iPad is only as good as the content on it. In addition, I can’t emphasize enough the importance of teachers being well versed and completely at ease with the iPad in the classroom, if they are expected to effectively teach with these tablets.

 

 

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