The Strength of Weak Ties

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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Tablet Schmablet II

You know you’re in trouble when you see a comment that begins with “David Jakes, who I admire greatly…” Here comes the but…

However, I greatly enjoyed Will’s comments about my Tablet Schmablet post as did my workshop participants on developing personal learning environments. What an interesting moment when we launched Weblogg-ed and there’s his response to my post. I still find that pretty cool, even when the participants say “hey, he doesn’t agree with you, does he?”

Here's my But….

I don’t think tablets are “glorified ink note taking technology” at all as Will suggests. That’s the kind of use that was depicted in the article I was referring to, and that’s the kind of use that people so proudly trot out at conferences. I’ve even been to a presentation about tablets where the presenters compared the tablets against an overhead projector-yes, tablets are more capable than overhead projectors, and yes, I knew that you can’t connect an overhead to the Internet but you can connect a tablet….

SUBLIMINAL JOKE: THE CUBS ARE 17-23. AND IN 5TH PLACE. WAIT: THAT'S NOT A JOKE-IT'S REALITY.

I think tablets have great potential and I’m excited about knowing more about the rollout at Will’s former school. It seems like they have much to offer about more extended applications of tablet technology. Like Tom, I'd like to see the white paper-we could all probably learn much from it.

But my main point is that tablets still don’t extend the learning experience beyond what can be achieved with another form of computer technology. Will cites five themes that pilot members from his old school almost universally identified:

1. Instantaneous capability in the classroom (could I walk over to a desktop connected to a projector to have that same capability?)

2. Connecting to students (not sure what this means, exactly, but there are lots of ways to connect with kids)

SUBLIMINAL JOKE: THE LONGEST CUB WINNING STREAK IS TWO GAMES. YES, TWO GAMES. HEY, LET’S PLAY TWO, ERNIE!

3. Teacher productivity anytime, anywhere (ok, cool, if your building is wireless, but just how much anytime, anywhere is necessary-would access in department offices, labs, library, resource rooms and classrooms count as just about anywhere, anytime?).

4. Organization (now I know why I’m not organized!)

5. Teacher Empowerment (I don’t know what to say here…)

I’ll stand by what I said. I’m not convinced yet. I need to see more evidence like that from Will’s experience. I think too many are salivating with technolust over these things, and a more careful, thoughtful approach to integrating tablets (I said the I-word) may eventually carry the day.

SUBLIMINAL JOKE: IN DUSTY WE TRUSTY.

Give me a 1 to 1 in a wireless environment, with a commitment from teachers and administration for mega-staff development, based on some solid pilot work, and I’m good. Until then, I say: Tablet Schmablet!


To see a picture of the World Series trophy click here.
To see a picture of the Cubs last World Championship flag, oh, never mind....

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