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I'm Not Putting Any Apps on These Devices

I'm going to have some Chromebooks, Kindle Fires (rooted to run Android) and iPods in my classroom this year. My initial impulse is to created a list of apps, load them up for the students and then have everything prepared in advance. I've been tempted to look up app lists online and send out tweets asking for the "best apps" for various categories.

However, instead I'm doing nothing.

Every device will begin with the factory settings. As we go, we'll add apps to fit the particular projects, standards and lessons. It feels counterintuitive to me. After all, I'm stocking my cabinets with school supplies ahead of time. Why not apps?

But I have a few reasons:
  1. I don't want to crowd devices with apps that we "may need" rather than apps that we need. I know that they're free and there is room on each device. However, I'm not a fan of clutter and distractions. If we end up with ten apps at the end of the year, that's okay.
  2. I want students to be a part of the selection process. I want them to learn how to find apps that fit with what they want to learn and what they want to create rather than how they want to be entertained. 
  3. I want to choose apps based upon the instructional needs of our projects rather than trying to develop projects based upon what we are using. 
  4. I want students to engage in a conversation regarding what it means to use various apps, programs and webtools across platforms and devices. 
Professor. Author. Speaker. Maker.
I want to see kids embrace creativity. As a teacher, this has meant murals, documentaries, STEM camps, and coding projects. As a dad, this has meant quirky pillow forts and home-made pinball machines. This is why I co-wrote Wendell the World's Worst Wizard and co-founded Write About. I am convinced that design thinking can thrive in every content area, which is why I am launching the free design thinking course this summer.


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