iPhone in Teacher Education

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We here at PSU are engaged in developing a one-to-one initiative with our undergrad teacher education students. The Commonwealth of PA has committed to having a laptop for every student in every core content course (English, Math, Science, Social Studies) in high schools by 2009. This means our teachers need to be prepared for this environment, and therefore we need to have ubiquitous computing in teacher education programs to prepare teachers to enter ubiquitous computing environments in K-12 schools. As part of this process I get to think about how technology can transform teacher education.  This is something that has been on my mind and I thought would make a good post (or hopefully set of posts). Today I am thinking about the iPhone (I actually can't seem to stop thinking about it).  In my courses I emphasize students developing their ability to see a classroom like an expert teacher (theoretically the concept is professional vision).  Obviously I use a lot of video in this process.  The primary tool my students and I use for analysis is Studiocode, which is a Mac only tool, but does amazing things to allow you to code videotape on the fly and display short sections for discussion and analysis.  So, when I saw the iPhone I was immediately struck by how this powerful tool could be used to enhance what I am already doing with the teacher I work with.  Here is one dream scenario (with the caveat that I am making guesses about the iPhone's capabilities): I am in a student teacher's classroom.  They are teaching a lesson on mitosis and get into an interesting discussion with the class about the relationship between mitosis and cancer.  I pull the iPhone from my pocket and using the digital camera capture a short video of about 5 minutes of class (assumption #1: iPhone camera can capture video).  As the video comes in I can code it using Studiocode (assumption #2: iPhone will run third party apps) to mark sections I would like to talk to the student teacher about.  As the student teacher finishes their lesson I output the sections to a quicktime movie file and either email the file to the student with the iPhone or transfer it to a shared file space over the WiFi.  When the student teacher and I sit down to talk she already has the key piece of video on her laptop (or can get them quickly).  We can discuss it in the moment while looking at the video and she has a file to keep for later reflection.  The key is that I did all this with one device in a seamless way.  I can do some of this now, but it requires me to have a laptop and a digital video camera and significantly more setup time. The end goal for me with regard to technology in education is transparency.  When we get to the point that we can do what we want to do pedagogically without having to think about the tools, we have arrived.  This seems like one more (baby) step in this direction, but it is a powerful one.

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This is my dream. I am a high school principal. Teacher and students all have iPhone. Teacher texts or wirelessly beams a question to all students. Students answer on iPhone. Teacher gets instantaneous survey data - picture the graphs like on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Teacher sees that only 50% of students got it right. Teacher spends a little more time reviewing concept/practicing concept, then surveys again. This time 90% get it right and teacher moves on. At the end of class, iPhone shows teacher a summary of survey data. Notices that 3 students got every question wrong. App automatically identifies these students and prompts teacher to text them asking them to stay for extra help. Student iPhone also shows a reminder at the end of the school day "Go see Mr. X." Extra problems also instantaneously download to student iPhone and student can practice as they take the subway home (most of my students commute an hour or more). Textbook is on-line too, so student can access - no heavy bag to carry back and forth. Pipedream?


I agree that the possibilities are almost endless. The tool is powerful and with third party applications coming soon I can only imagine it getting better. I am just amazed at how flexible it is. Thanks for posting.

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