Coding is the New Cursive

iPadpalooza 2016 has come to a close and here is a quick wrap-up. There was a theme of change at iPadpalooza this year. Forecasters had said that 2016 would be a year of innovating and experimentation in new teaching models, learning spaces, and student-driven personalized learning. A variety of new school models in the K-12 sector, as well higher education institutions have been reinventing their education spaces. The tables are also turning from an instructor led, lecture focuses classroom to student-centered and interactive classes.

Personalized learning is a trend and buzzword we have been hearing this year, which includes a variety of learning approaches and technological tools. The key in this concept is the freedom from space and time to learn independently and at your own pace. However, this does not need to be a solo effort. Collaboration, dialogue, and teamwork are a focus in personalized learning. Schools and students are exploring together how to best fit this innovative approach into the learning process.

Here are some of the interesting ideas that came out of this year’s conference.

Practical Coding

iPadpalooza is of course a tech-focused conference and coding is entering all levels of education. Speakers Tracy Ramont & Kyle Myers presented an interactive session to teach the basics of coding and its practical applications including coding apps and robots. This was a timely intro course as many teachers lack basic coding skills. It is also in line with companies like Apple launching coding camps for kids in their retail stores and their free iPad app for coding training, Swift Playgrounds. Practical and basic coding skills in the classroom can help integrate this growing trend into more learning environments. With lessons like cursive being removed from school curriculums could coding be the new cursive?

Innovative ideas don’t have to be innovative technology

In a creative spin on old new ideas, speakers Elliot Ahr, Terice T. Schneider,
and Vicki Ventura accentuated the importance of laughter in the classroom. There is nothing in this world so irresitably contagious as laughter and good humor. Teaching is an art form and laughter is an important tool in communication and comprehension. Research was presented showing the positive responses the brain has to laughter and the learning opportunities during that reaction. When and where to introduce humor quickly and appropriately was also addressed.

Technology Fit not Fad

New technology innovations seem to be coming out every day and keeping up in education is difficult if not impossible. Speakers Lisa McMillan and Dr. Allegra McGrew put focus on finding the right fit instead of newest technology. Starting with individual goals for each teacher’s curriculum finding the right tool(s) is possible. Tips, tools, and tricks were shared to aid in integrate technology no matter what the device. A little salesmanship is necessary to sell your class on it in the end. But having the right tool(s) for your lesson is half the battle.

What’s next?

So what can we expect next year? It seems that new teaching models are creating opportunity for further learning across the board. If technology platforms and innovative classrooms continue on this road further integration of this technology/methodology and constant learning is the future. Hopefully, these systems will also attain the credentials they so deserve. Like Arizona State University’s Global Freshman Academy which offers full university freshman level courses for credit via edX. Also, student based initiatives such as the anatomy class at Columbia University creating content for the class app has empowered todays student to join the evolution.

At BookWidgets we strive to bring fun and interactive learning to everyone and are proud to be involved in a conference and a movement pushing new ideas into the classroom. Keep re-inventing and we’ll see you next year.

Elizabeth C. Nelson

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