About two years ago our district decided to take a drastic step in providing all of our students with a 21st century education. With the help of a technology bond initiative a few years back it was decided that all staff would receive an iPad and a MacBook to start the shift in teaching towards the future.
The district also implemented a rollout of student iPads across the board for all students. All of our K-2 classrooms have a set of 9 iPads, ALL students in grades 3-12 have an iPad that they use from 3rd grade on in 1:1 classrooms. We have had the iPads in our hands now for almost two years and it has made a huge difference in the way we teach as teachers and the way students learn as students.
I must stress it is not all about the iPads or devices that we possess as a district but our focus on how we can now use these tools and others that we possess to help each and every student meet their intended potential whatever that may be. I will share some of the changes I have personally seen in my classroom over the last two years.
How do I manage and use 9 iPads in a classroom of 24 second graders and make it worth while on a daily basis?
Learning Management System
In second grade we have begun to use the app Edmodo to help our students begin to understand some of the basic components of a learning management system. We have various things that are done in this app on a weekly, sometimes daily basis. We have recently been uploading our flipped spelling lessons that have been created with the Explain Everything app to explore this new way of teaching some of our lessons. The students seem to have responded well so there will be more lessons in the near future. By introducing Edmodo to students this year it will help them be prepared for future grades where they continue to use this learning management system even more.
Language Arts Block
We use The Two Sisters model for literacy, Daily 5. In Daily 5 I implement the iPads the most with the rotation of Listen to Reading. There are quite a few websites and apps that we use during this time. I will list the apps and sites that we use on a regular basis to help with the integration of iPads into our classroom.
Listen to Reading Sites and Apps
- Raz-Kids (Website and App) PAID
- StoryLine Online (Website) FREE
- Tumblebooks (Website) FREE
- BookFlix (Website) FREE
Math Block (Math Menu)
Last year we decided to try something new with our math instruction and were introduced to Math Menu. In Math Menu the teacher is able to more individualize and focus in on students that may need more intense instruction in certain topics and also allow other students that are high achievers in math concepts explore more advanced topics. Math Menu is comprised of rotations as well. We have four rotations and one is specifically focused on using the iPads for specific instruction. During our iPad rotation the students have a specific job to do. Here are the main sites the students focus on during this time:
Creation and Technology Integration within our Classroom
A big component of having this new technology is really for the students to begin to create and explore. Everything we do and teach our students has a purpose and a meaning, we are currently focusing more on lesson design to make the purpose of every lesson we teach meaningful. Some may look at it as just exploring and playing on a device but it is really allowing our students to think and create on their own. Our students are learning that this device we are giving them is not just for entertainment and enjoyment. We are teaching them how to find information and research appropriately, teaching them that not everything on the internet is true and factual and teaching them that they can THINK on their own and create something great and meaningful.
We have done some beginning stages of exploration in the field of AR (Augmented Reality) this year and cannot wait to do more in years to come. We are making some of our static, 2D projects and assignments come to life using AR and are so excited to see what the future holds. The following list of apps are just a few we have explored this year to help the students learn about creating on their own, adding that final touch to many of their already great assignments.
Aurasma (App) also has a web based component (FREE)
- Skitch (FREE)
- PicCollage (FREE VERSION)
- Tellegami (FREE VERSION)
- QR Code Creator and Reader (Used for many QR Code activities) FREE VERSION
- Story Kit (FREE/iPhone APP)
- Screenchomp (FREE)
- Doodle Buddy (FREE)
- Popplet Lite (FREE VERSION)
What Does the Future Hold Now?
No one knows of course what the future really holds, but even with nine iPads (devices/tools) in my classroom the possibilities are endless. It is not just the technology that has changed and added an excitement to learning. We as teachers have to find new ways everyday to help these students enjoy learning. The world is on warp speed and gets faster and better everyday. Making our students the best they can be in whatever that may be is the end goal always.
We are still figuring out when and how students learn better but with the use of this technology and growing support we are able to reach possibly even more students than we have before. To see pictures of my students in my own classroom and any other information that you may want please visit our classroom weebly or contact me at anytime. – Taylor’s Second Grade
Feature image courtesy of Flickr, blakespot.