Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
Well, my name is Craig Badura and I am the pK-12 Integration Specialist for Aurora Public Schools in Aurora, Nebraska. Prior to my current position I was an K-5 Integration Specialist for York Public Schools. My career in education began as a social studies teacher at Centura Public Schools in 1999. Teaching social studies was a great passion of mine and I truly miss the daily activity of the classroom, but love what I am doing now. My wife is a school administrator and I have two wonderful kids. In my spare time you will find me and my family on the golf course. We love our time together as a family on the golf course. I also love to read, dabble with all things ed tech, and when I'm not golfing or dabbling, you can find me working in my flower gardens at home.
Have you always been technologically minded?
I don't think I have always been "tech minded." It was about my third year of teaching that I started seeing the value of integrating various technologies into my classroom. I will admit that during my first three years of teaching my class was boring. I was using the overhead projector to give notes, I was assigning readings out of our boring text. I realized that I was teaching like I was taught. I had to change my pedagogy and with some simple technologies, my classroom was slowly becoming a "creation zone" instead of a "consumption zone." I have never looked back since I made the decision to integrate technology into my curriculum ten years ago!
Why do you think the use of mobile technology is becoming so important in 21st century education?
Because mobile technologies are not going away! Our society is saturated with various devices and our students need to be using them in school because they are using them in their personal lives. It shouldn't be an option in schools. We need to realize that we are no longer the smartest person(s) in our classrooms. Our roles as educators are changing to more of a coaching role in our classrooms and we need to show our students how to effectively use, disseminate and apply the massive amount of information that is available to them in using said devices.
What are the biggest challenges that schools face if they are trying to move to mobile learning?
Finances, the choice of what device to use and the challenge of providing effective, valuable professional development for all staff members.
In your opinion, should schools be investing in banks of iPads or looking more at BYOD?
Tough question! Having been involved with two 1:1 initiatives, I can't imagine a program in which all students didn't have the same device. We are currently 1:1 with iPads and I love the fact that all of our students have the same device. The playing field is leveled. We know that all students could get a certain app if needed. I am curious as to how BYOD schools handle this issue. To answer the question, I am very much iPad biased. There are so many great CREATION based apps out there for students to use.
What about game-based learning? Do you think it has a valid contribution to make in the classroom?
I think that GBL should be included in every classroom! Gaming in the classroom is a great idea because it creates instant engagement. Gaming is fun. Shouldn't learning be fun as well? I am very interested in the GBL movement right now and think that more teachers should include it within their curriculums (especially at the middle school level).
How about augmented reality apps, have you had much experience using them as a part of the learning process? Can they add value to a project?
I have not had much experience with augmented reality apps. I have experimented with some of the apps that are out there, but often wonder if they are just a flash in the pan...something to grasp students attention. I would love to see some great examples of how teachers are integrating AR into their curriculums.
We recently posted our Chemistry of Combos article about combining apps to create unique content. Do you have any favourite combos you could share with us?
App Smashing has so much potential in the classroom! We are always wanting students to tap into their higher order thinking skills, well App Smashing does exactly that! Some of my favorites (or ones that I have seen our students using). I always tell our teachers and students that if you can create with an app and save it to the camera roll, you can smash it!
Pic Collage+Tellagami or Zoobe+iMovie---YouTube or eBackpack
Google Earth+Tellagami or Zoobe+iMovie---YouTube or eBackpack
If you could only ever use one app in the classroom, what would you choose?
Just one? That's a tough question! My favorite app is iMovie. There are so many things you can do with that app. Documentaries, podcasts, broadcasts, etc. It's an app that ought to be on every teachers iPad!
What new features would you like to see added to the next generation iPad?
I can't think of anything right now, but Apple is the king of making you wonder how you ever lived without a certain device. I am sure the next iPad will have something that I absolutely "must have!"
How can people keep up to date with what you're up to?
What's next for you?
I am looking forward to digging into my "to do" list this summer. The school year is super busy being in and out of classrooms or sitting down and planning with teachers. I look forward to some time to learn some new things to pass onto our teachers next fall. I will also continue to offer "The Breakfast Club" sessions (done during the summer) for our teachers. It's a fun, no stress time for teachers to come in to learn about a new tool. We make them short (one hour) and our teachers can earn professional growth points for attending.
Craig it's been an absolute pleasure. Keep up the great work and we'd love to hear from you again in the future. Thanks for speaking with us.