This week, I received an HP Tablet PC. I was just thinking about the difference between how I learned to use a Mac six years ago and what I've been doing this week.
Some Things Never Change
I have to put my hands on the tools. I'm trying to think about why I am good at what I do. At the same time, I wonder why some people find it more difficult. Part of the equation is that I like to play. When I learned that I was going to be teaching using Macs, my first question was: when can I bring one home to play? I am excited about using the tablet. When it arrived on Wednesday, the first thing I wanted to do was open it and find out how it works.
My Use of the Web Has Changed
Six years ago, I knew enough that there had to be training, tutorials, and articles online about using Macs to teach K-8 students. I don't know why - maybe the lack of a laptop and wireless Internet - but I printed reams of paper. I felt really guilty about throwing the paper out, too. I had a binder for each group of students I'd be teaching.
Now I have my social bookingmarking sites: delicious and Diigo. Now I don't have to worry about forgetting a useful site and I have a backup of my links at two different locations. I use Diigo to be a part of groups of educators. I use delicious for its simplicity. I believe I am learning along the way that a delicious account makes very little sense unless it is your own. I have now taught four different groups of adults about integrating technology in education. I'm not too sure about how intuitive either system is unless you create, tag, and maintain your own site. Does anyone have any feelings about this either way?
My Connections With Others Has Changed
The best I could do with the Mac was speak with the previous two teachers at the school. The other day, I asked my Twitter network for suggestions on open source software to put on the tablets and received a great set of ideas. Some I use all the time on the Mac and they would have been natural additions. Some were Windows applications. Even though we have two Windows desktops at home, I use games and Quicken on them for the most part. I am also being exposed to other people's bookmarks and have been saving blogs, podcasts, and other items related to tablets. I am receiving so many ideas.
Leading the Charge
I'm looking forward to my reflections here in a year. It's going to be an undeniable opportunity having a wireless lab full of 20 tablet PCs in the building. I am fully focused on gathering momentum in the school for the technology to spread out of the computer lab and past simple Internet research, Word documents and printouts.
A photo of my lab back in November from my Flickr account.