These are my notes from Felix Jacomino and Inge Wassmann‘s breakout session, “Combining 21st Century Skills, Project Based Learning, and iPads” at the 2012 Mobile Learning Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, on April 13, 2012. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS. The official conference session description was:

“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” -Alan Watts Learn what one technology team experienced from initiation to implementation of iPads in a school in the heart of Coconut Grove, Florida. “Computer teachers” have transformed into “technology integrators” and move from within the lab to the classroom, the campus, and beyond. Integrators must understand the 4 C’s of 21st century skills and how project based teaching and learning supports it. – What comes ?rst? Teachers? Students? Devices? Professional development? – Obstacles to overcome – Resistant teachers: “This is just a fad!” – Hardware/Software logistics

St Stephen’s Episopal Day School

Our school is in a smaller town in Miami, FL
– we have THREE technology facilitators in our small school, this says a LOT about our priorities as a school and the role we believe is so important

We are endearingly called ‘the little school by the bay’
– we have enrichment classes on sailing, actually


Paradigm shift: 2 ways to deal with the constant of change
– fight it
– go with it

Mobile 2011 was a huge catalyst for us as a faculty

GREAT movie!

2 years ago and a few weeks ago, there was NO iPad! Can you believe it?!

What is project-based learning?
– when you define what something is, you get help defining what it is NOT

Our activity:
– What is PBL?
– What is PBL not?
– What is 21st century learning?
– What is 21st century learning NOT?


PBL and 21st Century Learning

Continuous professional development is key
– we had Travis Allen out to talk to our teachers from the parent perspective
– then he introduced Tony Vincent

This led our head of school to decide: WE need to get iPads for every student
– in short order we were distributing iPads to all students at our school

SHARING is essential
– get the enthusiasm going!
– do yo want engaged students? fewer discipline problems?

We have great quotations from students saying, “Lunch already?”
– email from a teacher who said, we just noticed we missed recess using Edmodo (“Facebook for kids, but safe”)

In-house, faculty PD plus weekly planning sessions
– PD plus weekly planning sessions

Today’s session is about using iPads to facilitate PBL and 21st century skill learning

We asked Tony in some of his PD sessions with us to provide workshops on PBL without technology
– teaching teachers how to ‘uncover’ rather than just deliver content/information
– we try to send as many teachers to ISTE each year as we can

We had a PD focus called, “Speed date your iPad”
– 8 possible sessions, teachers attended 5

Phenomenal bookmarks shared on, great to share as a social bookmarking site for teachers
– example we used recently:

Inge meets regularly with teachers to find out what they need, what they want to learn
– also facilitates and co-teaches with teachers in the classroom

Keep in mind your faculty is at all levels


Diffusion of Ideas - on Wikipedia

From computer teacher to tech integrator
Obstacles we’ve encountered and advice
– patience is key
– strive for baby steps
– the level of willingness to adapt to new ways of teaching and learning varies wildly
– from moving to ‘this is a fad’ (whole language / phonics) versus this is the way we learn now
– process of me looking at their curriculum, looking at CCSS and their curriculum and thinking of ‘driving questions’
– some teachers are still thinking chapter by chapter for each month
– do all the students have to ‘get to California’ in the textbook by the end of the year?

We have our technology team, but you also need to support anyone willing to support you
– be part of that meeting

Definitely emphasize

We bought book from Buck Institute for Education: PBL in the Elementary Grades

Felix is both the technology coordinator (wearing the education hat) at the I.T. Director

Any relationship has to have GREAT communication
– things need to be clearly defined: who reports to whom
– Felix’ bias: IT person should report to an educator because this is a SCHOOL and it’s about the learning

How many of you know about #pencilchat
– was an explosion on Twitter in Nov 2011 with this hashtag
– full of great quotations

Great video: Ode to #Pencilchat: Technology Integration in the Classroom

Follow the Twitter hashtag #edreform and share it

– books
– pencils
– encyclopedias
– lecture
– memorization

– internet
– mobile devices
– collaboration
– project based learning
– discovery

GREAT step for us was having Travis Brown come out and share his story from the recent student perspective

Share Dan Brown’s open letter to educators
– huge eye opener, some could be taken as shocking, but everything inside the truth

So now we look at hardware and software options
– we went with the iPad and found covers on eBay
– has elastic band that goes around
– consider the cover of the iPads are protected, break of the screen is going to happen with the screen

Our 4th and 5th grade students take the iPads home
– we don’t call iPad covers colors, we call them flavors: Blueberry, Banana, etc.

Optional “iPad Protection Program”
– parents pay $50
– covers damage, stolen, etc
– 1st incident parents can purchase an iPad for $100
– if parents didn’t join, they had to sign to cover replacement of the iPad in full ($500) for replacement if needed
– almost 70% of parents got this plan, and we’ve had 3 broken student iPads, all glass breakages
– I have a local guy who replaces iPad glass for $99 each

You’ve got to have as much bandwidth as you can have
– robust wireless: We went with Aerohive Networks (doesn’t require a physical controller on your network, just sent you the separate access points, we’ve had no problems with failure)
– last year at Mobile 2011 the wireless went down at the first session, wireless at THAT hotel (not this year’s) couldn’t handle it

Other important considerations
– volume purchasing program
– device management

JAMF – Casper Suite is an option, some people don’t like lack of lock down features

Part of our acceptable use policy at our school is students CANNOT install any personal apps on their iPads

Apple Configurator is an option

Meraki is a cloud-based option is our app list, all categorized is great source of apps

#edapp Twitter hashtag (great for app discovery)

You know about Air Server on the Mac? ($12, can install on up to 5 computers)

Discovr apps is a discovery app

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5 Responses to Combining 21st Century Skills, Project Based Learning, and iPads

  1. […] Moving at the Speed of Creativity – Combining 21st Century Skills, Project Based Learning, and iPads Integrators must understand the 4 C’s of 21st century skills and how project based teaching and learning supports it. – What comes ? […]

  2. Abmin9 says:

    Great article!!! Although, I may be a bit biased! 😉 Thanks Wes! We really appreciate it.

  3. […] Combining 21st Century Skills, Project Based Learning, and iPads ( Related Posts Introduction to Project-Based Learning […]

  4. I am loving this rundown of the event – thanks for all the great detail and lists of resources. I am trying to get up to speed on everything iPad for B2S! Thanks Wes!

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