iPhone in Teacher Education
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.