Ingvi Omarssonis an Icelandic iPad educator and Nearpod Pionear with a growing reputation for innovation. We spoke with him about his mobile technology projects, favourite apps and views on BYOD amongst other topics.
Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
My name is Ingvi Omarsson (@IngviOmarsson) and I graduated from the University of Iceland, Department of Education in 2010 as a teacher and worked as a 1st-3rd grade teacher. There I work in an iPad 1:1 environment with my 3rd graders, one of the first in Iceland.
I went on to study my Masters in Entrepreneurship at Lund University in Sweden in 2013. When I returned back to Iceland I started a job as a technology coordinator at the Skagafjörður School District in North Iceland and you can learn more about all of it here:
What does your current role entail?
I oversee the transition in the schools from desktop PCs to Macs and iPads for both staff and students from 1st-10th grade and how we can meet the needs of every learner and use technology to excel our learning and teaching.
Have you enjoyed any particular successes you'd like to share?
I think the conversations I have with teachers and staff at the schools every day about the future of education and what we need to and can do today to change how we do things to meet the needs of the 21st century.
What do you perceive to be the greatest benefits of mobile technology in the 21st century classroom?
How we can indiviualize the teaching and learning, have students take charge of their learning and do things that were otherwise impossible without the use of technology.
What would be your first piece of advice to an educator who is just starting to harness mobile technology in the class?
Go on Twitter and build up a PLN (Personal Learning Network) by following great educators from around the world and sharing great content yourself.
Are there common pitfalls that you've seen schools fall into as they deploy iPads for the first time?
Yes, not planning their intergration, not building a sustainable model but rather buy a bunch of iPad because they got a grant or found money somewhere. The first deployment is no problem usually… but the 2nd or 3rd deployments are the ones we should look at.
What are your views on BYOD schemes in schools?
In Iceland we have something called ‘Skóli án aðgreiningar’ or Inclusive schools where all students should be treated equal regardless of their background, gender, race or financial status and i don’t think students who have the least amount of money/resources should have the worst devices. I think that schools should pick one greatf type of device for both students and staff and then focus on what they are going to do with those devices.
Are there certain apps that you always recommend to educators?
Twitter is the one I mentioned earlier and I always recommend Evernote for both students and staff. As a teaching tool I love Nearpod which allows teachers to construct engaging presentations and deliver instruction to students by pushing content out to multiple devices at once. The teacher controls the presentation from a master iOS device, while students follow along on their devices. The Google apps (GAFE) are great as well and we use Explain Everything for our flipped teaching.
What about your 'desert island app' - is thee one single app that you couldn't live without?
Who inspires you? Who do you look to for innovative ideas and concepts?
The people I work with inspire me every day as does my PLN on Twitter.
My podcast (Menntavarp) co-host Ragnar Þór (@maurildi) also inspires me as well as great authors and speakers like Sir Ken Robinson, Yong Zhao, Will RIchardson, Tony Wagner, Tom Whitby and Diane Ravitch to name a few.
You've just been nominated as a Nearpod PioNear, this must have been a great honour for you?
I was so honored when I got the news on that. I love Nearpod and the opportunities it presents in and out of the classroom. Our 8th grade is 1:1 and they use Nearpod a lot and both students and teachers love it. Nearpod also has so many exciting features and add on and listen to our feedback. I look forward to presenting Nearpod to other schools in Iceland and Scandinavia in the next years.
How have you used Nearpod in the classroom yourself?
I’ve been training teachers and I also used it for parent tech night to show parents the amazing things technology can add to teaching and learning in the digital age. They were blown away. I’ve also used it with students and recently completed a Nearpod Presentation on Volcanoes which will be free of charge in the Nearpod Store very soon.
What's next for you Ingvi?
Next is going to a few conferences and presenting on technology. Then I’m working on the implementation plans for all our schools and how we will implement iPads and Macs into the schools and classrooms. I’m hosting a EdCamp for teachers in North Iceland next week on technology in education and planning a big conference in Iceland in October. So things are very exciting and I look forward to every day.
How can people keep up to date with everything you're up to?
The best way is through Twitter @IngviOmarsson and on my website www.ingvihrannar.com. People are always welcome to contact me if they are thinking of visiting Iceland and want to visit our schools.
Ingvi it has been a pleasure speaking with you, thanks for taking time out for us.