What's your latest major "innovation"...?

Hi everyone!

I've always found it incredibly beneficial to be able to sit down with educators in similar positions (i.e. innovative schools, innovative leadership, roles that enable us to push the boundaries, etc.) to trade notes and share ideas.

I'm hoping we can share some ideas in this discussion thread, too. Particularly, what is the major "innovative thing" that you're currently working on? (I imagine that we're going to be all over the map with this... my groundbreaking "innovative thing" might be something you implemented a few years ago... but hopefully, this kind of idea-swap can help to inspire all of us.)

I'll kick things off with one of the "major innovative things" that we're working on:

Our current major innovative thing is "wireless whiteboarding." Faculty and students are 1:1 with MacBook Air laptops... but we're rolling out classroom iPads + Apple Pencils to replace SmartBoards in our high school classrooms. We've done this in about half of classrooms so far, it has been a success. Teachers plug their laptops into the classroom projector (business as usual), but then use SideCar to wirelessly control their laptop from anywhere in the room (enables whiteboarding with laptop based apps like Jamboard, SmartNotebook, etc.)... OR, they use Airplay To Mac to mirror their iPads to their laptops / to the projector, eliminating the need for additional hardware (like an Apple TV).

We've found that this setup has been a HUGE help for hybrid/virtual instruction, because students on Zoom can see everything on the projector by simply sharing-screen. We also recently went to Canvas as our LMS, and it turns out, this iPad / MacBook setup allows teachers to record screencasts from their iPad (i.e. annotating a document or modeling a math problem on the iPad) directly into the Canvas platform (no additional uploading anywhere... just immediately available in Canvas using their "Studio" tool).

Hope that helps to inspire some of you... Looking forward to hearing your current innovative projects, and learning alongside you!

10 replies

August 29, 2022

The largest innovation I'm working on right now is a subscription model to higher education. Although these terms don't sit well in "ivory tower" higher ed, I'm thinking about how my role as a professor can be molded into an "academic content creator", with new weekly content that's built around active learning (exactly what you're using in your post). Keep it up!

August 31, 2022

Sounds really interesting, DrGinger. Do you mean something along the lines of what MOOCs offer? Just perhaps more dynamic / engaging ... on a subscription model ... and culminating in some kind of credential that competes with a "degree"...? Or perhaps the learned knowledge / skill is all the credential that's necessary...?

August 30, 2022

There have been so many things that have been amazing for me. In 28 years of teaching, technology has changed, but the idea that we use the tools to enhance learning has not changed. I have to say one of the greatest innovations for me, is the Apple Pencil. It is such a great tool, and for my students it has become a daily tool.

really hard to pin it down to just one.

August 31, 2022

I love the Apple Pencil as well, Brian. Curious to hear how you've been able to put it to work.

I use it personally when annotating readings and grading student work.

My colleagues use it for wireless "whiteboarding" (projecting and solving math problems to the board), screencasts (major improvement over those drawing tablets we'd used to plug in), etc.

Anything else that should be on our radar?

August 31, 2022

We have a lot of digital and PDF work for students with our curriculum. So rather than print all those pages, we markup the pdfs on the iPads.

I also have workbooks that have been created in Pages and/or Keynote that students use for various activities in class. i.e...graphic organizers for writing.

September 21, 2022

Agree Brian on the Apple Pencil. Now that it sits on top of iPad, I always know where it is 😊 and can grab it when needed. It provides an inroad to using different modalities on iPad.

September 20, 2022

One of the challenges our students face with remote learning is the lack of connection to other students.  They see the material from and interact with our faculty, but study groups and interactions with their peers are all but lost.  Even after we have somewhat returned, the interactions are not the same.  

We have a 1:1 learning initiative in which all of our undergrad students have iPads. We have been exploring a number of strategies to help make the student to student connections stronger.  One of our most powerful strategies is using MS Teams on the iPads to help our students create virtual study groups or “Watch Parties”. The students work both synchronously and asynchronously using chat groups, collaborative whiteboards and note taking apps to replace the physical study groups used prior to covid.  They arrange times to watch the recorded lectures “together” from multiple locations.  They chat and share as they watch.

We have used the same strategy to create faculty mentoring groups to help the students feel more connected to each other, as well as seeing our faculty in a different light.  Students communicate with each other as well as the faculty members.  The impact has been huge.  The interactions we are seeing are incredible.  It is easy to see the connections being made and the impact it has had on the attitudes, and ultimately the retention of our students.

September 21, 2022

I really like your Watch Party strategy! Seems like that would work well for connecting students and learning together. Great suggestion.

September 21, 2022

I’m enjoying the innovative upgrades in Apple Maps and looking forward to sharing more ways to integrate this geography tool into lessons. Connecting place to history is so important.

Thanks for starting this thread! Interesting ideas here!

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