Source: Wikimedia – Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra

Aren’t you tired as I of lists of what NOT to do with iPads in schools? The lists are endless…the most recent I’d seen when I started this blog entry (writing sutras wasn’t as easy as I thought) is 8 Frequent Mistakes Made with iPads in Schools.  In that list, you’ll see admonitions like the following:

  1. Don’t Underestimate the power of the iPad
  2. Neglect to make real world connections
  3. The iPad alone will not help kids think deeply
  4. Treating the iPad like a computer
  5. Not taking advantage of the mobility of the device.
  6. Sharing iPads between classes
  7. Resistance to change
  8. Over use of ebooks

These articles–like Top 10 Things NOT to do in a 1:1 iPad initiative–are brilliant because they offer ways to avoid issues encountered by their authors. But I’d like to rethink them in terms of what one can do.

IDEA BEHIND SUTRAS

“Keep your class rules positive and to the point.” The advice then was solid. Rather than a list of what NOT to do, it was a list of what to do. Reading Dave Duncan‘s The Reluctant Swordsman, I had a laugh because I imagined what our “sutras” or teachings would be for the proper implementation of iPads in schools. 

A sutra is an aphorism or formula that expresses some fundamental truth about consciousness. (Source)

The framework for a sutra appears to include 3 components: 1) A code; 2) An anecdote and 3) a Moral.

“All the crafts have their sutras,” he said, “and in most cases the first one contains a code. When a boy becomes a swordsman he swears to follow the code of the swordsmen. Listen!” 

I expect that your swordsmen sutras are much like ours—most contain a little story to help fix them in the memory.

Those sutras or teachings came with an anecdote to better fix the lesson in the mind of the learner. Would it be possible to revise these lists of what NOT to do with lessons and teachings of what to do with iPads in teaching and learning situations?
Sutra #1 – Connect

  1. Code – Make real-world connections.
  2. Anecdote – Pablo found himself bored with the games and apps on his device. He stopped playing with the device and found himself a bit disappointed with the hype. “Hey, Pablo,” Lisa, a classmate in Calculus, called to him. “Wanna Kik me?” Once Pablo and Lisa had connected on Kik, an instant messaging app, they started helping each other on homework. It wasn’t long before Pablo found himself Kiking others and helping them, learning far more than he imagined.
  3. Moral – The connected learner is seldom bored.
Sutra #2 – Go Mobile

  1. Code – Learn on the go.
  2. Anecdote – Jennifer found it difficult to learn at school. Too many friends, too many distractions. It’s only when she got home that she had time to herself. In fact, she had time to herself on the bus ride home, where none of her friends could be found. But she couldn’t remember what the teacher had said hours before…until she started watching flipped lessons on her mobile device.
  3. Moral – The wise learn anytime, anywhere; fools require the “right” conditions.

Sutra #3 – Multimedia is Multi-Modal

  1. Code – Life is more than words.
  2. Anecdote –
    “I don’t get it,” Rick cried, frustrated. “I’ve read this paragraph several times and I just don’t get it.”
    “Why don’t you watch the video or listen to the audio?” suggested Dana, a team-mate.
    “Thanks, Dana! Listening to the audio helped me make sense of it.”
  3. Moral – When frustrated, try the multimedia option.
Sutra #4 – Be Flexible.
  1. Code – Suppleness lies at the heart of teaching and learning.
  2. Anecdote –
    Barney found himself staring glumly at the project rubric. “I have to make all those different things?”
    “No, no,” his teacher reassured him. “Pick one project that you like best or mix elements of multiple projects. Don’t be afraid to remix the rubric.”
  3. Moral – Sway with the storm’s wind or be broken.

Sutra #5 – Avoid Perfection.

  1. Code – Perfection is the enemy of growth.
  2. Anecdote – 
    Jenny and Linda stared hopelessly at the image on their device. Lonny had made it and it was…perfect. “Uh, Lonny,” Linda said, “this is too perfect. You’re a genius!”
    “You’d think so looking at it, right?” Lonny replied with a grin. “Look closer and watch.” As they looked on, he tapped the UNDO button multiple times, rendering the imperfections with absolute completeness. “See? Not so perfect, now, huh? See how I did this?”
  3. Moral – Learn from the imperfect to create perfect.

What sutras would you add?


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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