This week marks my first month with 1:1 iPads in second grade. My entire district is implementing a 1:1 iPad learning initiative in which ALL K-12 students will have an iPad. They started the rollout in 2nd and 5th grades (lucky me).
Because I’m passionate about technology and integrating the devices, along with 21st century skills, into students learning excited I don’t mind pursuing iPad implementation in my own time. Consequently, I’ve received recognition from Innovation Coaches, grade level teachers, and district administrators.
What’s sad is the fact that I’m not doing anything revolutionary (or close to it) with iPad integration. I feel like I’m living in the Substitution/Augmentation world of the SAMR model and that’s definitely not where I want to be. However, with app restrictions (a few good paid apps could go a long way!), mandated curriculums piling up and lack of creative freedom in instruction, I feel limited on my ability to advance to the MR realms of SAMR.
So here’s a quick reflection on our 1st month…
QR Code Math Scavenger Hunt: After double digit story problem strategies were modeled on the SMARTBoard, students chose strategies that were effective for them to solve problems in Educreations. I then created a QR Code scavenger hunt around the room. Each QR Code contained one story problem and was labeled with a number (students had to proceed in order, with question difficulty increasing with each number). I’ve never seen students so motivated to solve math problems in my entire teaching career. I’ve read that the technology itself does not motivate students, but they certainly were motivated to find the next QR Code and scan in with QRReader. Students solved 3-5 times compared to completing worksheets. (Low students completing 5 vs. 1, higher students completing 9+). When it was time to collect a sample of students’ work, students took a screen shot of their work and Airdropped it to me (we were still waiting for our GAFE account info from district).
Bloggin’ About: After using the K-2 Digital Citizenship curriculum as a jumping off point, students each received their own Kidblog account. Kidblog is fantastic for blogging both on the iPad and computer and is extremely easy to use – my second graders had it mastered in a couple of posts and comments. I’m still trying to determine the best way to use it, but for now I feel like the students and I are both enjoying the blogging exploration. Sometimes I create a post and they each have to comment. This could be as simple as a fun get-to-know-you activity or a quick formative assessment. Sometimes I direct them to blog about a particular topic, such as show understanding of a reading strategy or write about a given prompt. Sometimes, I prompt them to take pictures of their work, such as their math solutions, and blog about them so students can see how others are solving problems and may find a new strategy that works for them. Other times students are free to blog and comment as they wish. Many students seem to love blogging: creating their own posts, posting comments on each others’ work, receiving comments from their classmates. Right now, our blog is private as we are getting used to the platform, but we may change that in the future.
GAFE is in the House! The MOMENT Google Apps for Education account info was released, I made each student a card with their username and password and we signed into our accounts IMMEDIATELY. Using Reflector (did I mention, I use Reflector when modeling EVERYTHING on the iPad onto our SMARTBoard. It’s glitchy, but can get the job done most of the time. It’s also fun for students to play teacher and “mirror up” their own screen . Didn’t even have to teach them that one…they learned that just from watching me mirror up all the time!) students each set up a Turn In Folder and shared it with me. Within that folder they created a folder for each subject. Everything in that folder is shared. No more paper. Love it.
Say Cheese! There are so many ways to use the Camera app and the kids LOVE it! It gets them up, moving, and totally motivated. In math, after we did a quick mini lesson on right angles, students were prompted to find a right angle around the classroom, take a photo, and then load it into a photo editing app and prove that it was a right angle. In literacy, after learning about commands, students role-played commands with each other, took a photo, uploaded it into a photo editing app and added a corresponding caption. After reading a story about park rangers, students were told the rangers needed help creating rules for their park. Students worked with partners to create and act out 3 rules/commands for the park. They entered them into a Comic Maker app and added captions or speech bubbles to each photo with the corresponding command.
Flipping Out! Annoyed with repeating directions (with 30 students, someone is always bound to miss something) and eager to experiment with flipped/blended learning I created screencasts for our geometry unit with videos covering everything from the differences between rows and columns, properties of a rectangle, how to compose a rectangle out of squares etc. I then created an iTunes U course to share the videos with students. Each activity included a video to watch and then a task (or tasks) to perform. After the second day most students were comfortable navigating iTunes U, the videos, and the tasks.
Student feedback from iTunes U:
“We can all work at different paces. Some can be behind, some can be ahead, and it’s okay.” It certainly is.
“I like that I can listen to the directions.” Pretty cool, huh?
“I’m learning words that I didn’t know before!” Showed them the define function. Built in dictionary, oh yeah.
“I like that I don’t have to look in Drive for everything.” Can be a pain sometimes. iTunes U is nice and organized.
“I like that I can watch the videos as many times as I need. You don’t have to keep repeating yourself over and over.” Not anymore!
I like iTunes U for the reasons listed above as well. I want students to be able to work at their own pace and to be able to provide differentiated instruction to all. I created and included an “All Done” Google presentation at the end of the unit for students who needed extension activities. (Some students I had skip right to this). It included links to videos and websites and additional math tasks.
Here is a sample workflow for one activity (workflow was similar for all activities): Student went into iTunes U, selected activity, read directions, opened video link, watched video on right, acute, and obtuse angles. Students read task directions, created each angle in the Geoboard app, screen shot their geoboard, uploaded the photo into a photo editing app, labeled each angle, saved their annotated photo to their camera roll, uploaded it to Drive, and finally renamed it with the name I gave them in their iTunes U directions. Return to iTunes U, check off completed iTunes U task. Repeat. Bam. Done.
These are seven-year-olds with iPads in there hands for a couple weeks. Talking with fifth grade teachers at our initial iPad PD, they didn’t think their students could do half as complicated a workflow. It’s unfortunate that teachers don’t set higher expectations for their students. That, or they really don’t believe they can do it. Either way, it’s quite sad.
Students used Tellagami to create videos to explain their math work. They took a screen shot of their math work completed in Educreations, made an avatar that looked like themselves (or not, it was their choice) loaded their photo as their background and explained their process. Yes, I know, they could have actually done that in Educreations, but it was MUCH more fun in Tellagami. =)
Students have been using Paperport Notes and/or PDF Master (which has been glitchy with the new IOS, sadly) for close reading. Common Core requires students to read closely, citing evidence. Well I certainly am NOT printing off passages over and over and over and over and over (you get the point) for students to mark up and discard. Instead of paper copies, students can highlight and annotate their passage in a PDF annotation app as many times as necessary, saving a forest in the process all while preparing students for Smarter Balance. Yay.
We’ve made character maps in Popplet, collaborated in Google Docs, created collages in InstaScrap and utilized a handful of other apps all directly relating to the instruction that would have taken place without it. The iPad has either made these tasks easier, created new opportunities, delivered instruction, allowed for personalized learning and/or engaged and motivated students to a greater degree.
So, what’s next? Wait for my district to approve Twitter. (Ha!) Connect with Italian ePals via email. Collaborate on books with ePals using Book Creator. Begin Genius Hour. Mystery Skype. Skype with classrooms and professionals to learn about topic we’re studying. 100 Word Challenge. Once we get the Keynote, Pages, and SMART Notebook I will be in HEAVEN. But until then, I’ll just have to make due with what I’ve got.
The possibilities are endless. And I’ve barely scratched the surface.