Critical pedagogy toward iPadagogy or ‘appedagogy’

In thinking about and researching iPads and pedagogy I came across the notion on the blog that critical pedagogy is more appropriate when considering the pedagogy utilised for implementing a whole-school iPad program.  After some more searching for information on critical pedagogy it seems there is not adequate enough information on this particular educational philosophy.  The best definition for critical pedagogy can be found on a number of websites, but does not have a complete citation of its original source, it says:

Critical pedagogy includes relationships between teaching and learning. Its proponents claim that it is a continuous process of what they call “unlearning”, “learning”, and “relearning”, “reflection”, “evaluation”, and the impact that these actions have on the students, in particular students whom they believe have been historically and continue to be disenfranchised by what they call “traditional schooling”. (Possibly by Paulo Freire and sourced from Wikipedia)

To me the idea of unlearning, learning, relearning, reflection and evaluation is the fundamental basis on which critical pedagogy exists and this has been discussed in educational academia for years.    So what does it mean to unlearn, learn, relearn, reflect and evaluate with digital technology, specifically the iPad?

Each of these five steps hinges on the other, however, if we do not unlearn something be are going to be stuck.  According to The Mithya Institute for Learning, unlearning is: “Intending to let go of what we have already learned or acquired. It is not about right or wrong. It is about being open to and exploring something that lies underneath the judgment, underneath the right and the wrong” (Sourced from The Mithya Institute for Learning).  I think this is exactly what I ask for teachers to do when I ask them to implement the ipad in their classroom teaching and learning practice more.  When integrating mobile technology and devices such as the iPad, our teaching practice will need to be adjusted and that requires us to move away from the familiar and being open to something different.

Learning is acquiring new knowledge and skills so unlearning would be to take a step back and wipe the slate clean.  With a clean slate on a topic, you have the ability then to learn and relearn material on a topic.  For example, I know a great deal of information on instructional design but when I’m considering implementing the iPad into education I want to wipe the slate clean and unlearn what I have learned in order to be able to learn what instructional design for mobile learning entails.  Then I want to perhaps relearn what I already knew about instructional design and fit it with what new information I have learned on ID pertaining to mobile learning.  I would then reflect on new ideas that have been formed and what that means for the practical implementation of iPads in the classroom before evaluating my current practice and making any necessary changes to improve that practice.

I am certainly not an expert yet on the best practices for implementing the iPad into the classroom but I have a fairly solid understanding that is developing on the things I need to consider and what it might all look like in the classroom.


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