1. MacBook Pro, 17' with the apps I use the most: Camtasia, Adobe Photoshop Suite, Chrome, uTorrent, iTunes, and VLC
2. iPad 3 (Verizon) with ShowMe, Messaging, Mail, Twitter/HootSuite, DailyBible, Flipboard, Edmodo, Notability, Instagram, Facebook, Camera, Music and Paper 53
3. iPhone 4 with most of the same apps as the iPad, Socrative and Pandora as well.
4. Web-based apps: Google Docs (including shared folders and live collaboration with the #cheesebuckets), Dropbox, Weebly to maintain this site, BBC iPlayer through Expat Surfer, UKNova, Netflix, and Hulu Plus.
Now, why am I telling you all that? Because I believe that it tells you something about who I am as a person, as a teacher, and as a learner. Most of my news comes from Twitter. All of my television/screen time is through my computer (I don't even have a TV). All of my radio and music comes from what's stored between my three devices (and a really old iPod classic) and Pandora. Most of the communication I have with friends is through Twitter, Facebook, and messaging.
Even right now, I have all three devices open, working on different things (streaming the final of the men's gymnastic all-around competition on BBC and composing this on the MBP, Twitter on the iPad, messaging on the iPhone). I take all three devices everywhere, because this is how I engage with the world.
And I'm double the age of most of my students. If technology is so important to me, then how much more is it to them, who have had it their entire lives?
But that's not the point of this post. It is however, sort of relevant.
As I was thinking through my preferences for technology use, I suddenly realised that it wasn't MY preference that matter.
In a flipped class, student-centred pedagogy is one of the three pillars. So why am I the one setting the requirements?
Now, there my plans/goals for my students:
1. I want all students to blog
2. I want an LMS, either Moodle or Edmodo or both
3. I want to use google docs
4. I want all students to use an RSS feed for SSR time
5. I want to use a backchannel for live response
6. I want to participate in the KQED Do Now curriculum
7. I want students to collaborate outside of class time
8. I want students to watch some videos outside of class time
And there are some things I know about my students:
1. They all have gmail and google docs and like them
2. Most don't have Twitter accounts
3. They use Moodle
4. Most have their own devices to use in class
5. They are not used to using technology in class. At all.
So there are a lot of pieces of information I don't know yet. But here's what I do know:
I need to allow my students to drive the technology in my class. Instead of teaching them all new tools, I need to help them gain proficiency in the ones they already have and know. When it comes down to it, I need to embrace the mess and allow my students to teach me sometimes, rather than me having all the knowledge. I need to use their passion for technology and show them how to make it relevant to my class. I need to put aside my preferences and be willing to not be the expert in order to better meet their needs.
So I don't have a completed plan for what technology I will use. And that has to be okay. I have a starting place: Moodle, Google Docs, and a BYOD policy. And I have lots of question marks: Will I require a Twitter account? Will I use YouTube? Will I use Google+ hangout? Will I use Edmodo?
I don't know.
I DO know that I don't want to give my students a worksheet asking them what they use. Here are some ideas for how I might gather this information:
1. Have students enter the names of their technology into a Google form (much as I did at the start of this post) and then create a Wordle from it.
2. Use the start of year video to show my technology, and have students write a blog post or create a video of their own showing theirs. Yes, this is time consuming, but I can really learn a lot from this about my students and their context.
3. Ask students to put together a photo essay about their technology use. Turn this into an essay. It has nice thematic links to the Snapshot of a Modern Learner article. It could even be part of the essay on that text.
4. As the first project in Blank White Page. Again, the video I make could be the model for this to show them what BWP is all about.
I'm sure there's a better idea out there of how to do this. Feel free to comment and tell me your ideas for non-worksheet ways you collect this information from your students.