Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I am an adjunct Professor at the Institute of Professional Educator Development at the University of Wisconsin Parkside. Currently I am designing a Digital Learning minor for pre-service teachers. I am also an Innovative Learning Consultant. I am an Apple Distinguished Educator, Apple Certified Trainer and a Google Certified Teacher. I will be celebrating my 30th wedding anniversary this year to my amazing husband Chris. We truly are the original “Green Acres” couple. I am the mother of 3 amazing grown children and am a new mother-in-law! I am grateful for each day. My motto is “Be Ye Kind.”
Have you always been technologically minded?
Yes. When I first started teaching back in 1984 (yikes, that kind of tells my age) I had an Apple IIe in my classroom. I saw how my students were drawn to it, and so I kept taking courses to learn more!
How important do you feel the use of mobile technology is to the modern educator?
The overarching goal of technology is that it can be used as a tool to enhance learning. Mobile technology summons the world of information to any location 24/7, which empowers the user. iPads can transform the way we teach and learn. Quick access to resources and tools has transformed what is possible in the classroom, and has even transformed the concept of the classroom itself. The world is truly our classroom!
Do you think that, if harnessed well, iPads can facilitate deeper learning across the curriculum?
I believe it is all about the learning, and the right tool for the task. iPads allow flexible learning tailored to each student, which raises student engagement. They are powerful creative tools that can be used to create content for endless learning possibilities. They help with metacognitive strategies to develop a deeper understanding and to take students' thinking to a higher level. They give opportunities to learn from experts outside the classroom. They can harness the power of collaboration and reflection. Students can locate and review information that can reinforce or extend their learning. There’s always a thrill that comes with supporting students with the right tools at the right moment.
What advice would you give to a school about to invest in iPads?
I would stress the importance of making sure the instructional purpose of using iPads is clear. Also for any new program to work, teachers need professional development before any iPads are to be given out to students. Do not expect teaching and learning to change overnight. Examine shifts in pedagogy, using the SAMR model. Choose creation apps over content apps.
Do you have any experience with BYOD? What are your feelings on it?
I personally do not have any experience with BYOD. My biggest concern coming from teaching in an urban district is the availability of devices to all students.
With so many apps on offer through the App Store, teachers can get quite daunted. What types of apps should they look for?
Teachers should focus on content creation apps as well as apps that enhance creativity, and streamline workflow. Students should not just watch, listen, or read with an iPad — they should create with it. I choose apps that are rarely subject-specific. I like apps that inspire and require a student or teacher to create. I choose apps that allow students to capture their thinking.
I also believe that an app that can save to the camera roll has huge benefits, because then it can be incorporated with content creation apps.
What apps do you use on a regular basis that you might recommend?
That is a tough question, because it depends on what my purpose is for using the App. If we are talking apps for education, I mostly use Explain Everything, iMovie, Book Creator, iBooks, Google Drive, Google Hangouts, Aurasma, iTunes U, Haiku Deck, Drawing Pad and and Notability.
What about game apps, do you think they have a valid role to play in education?
Yes I do. Gamification allows students to go "beyond the classroom" and explore their learning. It's a learning motivational tool like no other. For both teachers and students, the possibilities are endless.
How can our readers keep up to date with what you share online?
I am passionate about social networking! I just started a website www.suegorman.com Go easy on me because it is a work in progress! From the site you can follow me on twitter (@sjgorman) Facebook, Google + and Pinterest
What's next for you?
I want to keep learning. I am pursuing a Doctorate in Learning Technologies.I want to spend time with my family, travel, present at conferences, and continue to collaborate with educators all over the world. Gandhi famously told us to be the change we want to see in the world. Well, we often think of that quote as applying to grand changes, but it also applies on a much smaller scale: to all the small interactions between people.
Sue it has been a pleasure speaking with you, thank you for sharing your expertise.