Thinking Out Loud
I received a call from a colleague who told me that in just two hours, 7 superintendents from my state were coming to see how I was using my ipads. Needless to say there was a scramble and readjustment in my schedule & lesson plans. I saw this as a tremendous opportunity to show those who can make a difference what a class of 12 children with HFA autism and iPads can do. It was an amazing experience and everyone left with nods of appreciation, smiles and much more knowledge. The feedback I received was incrediable and positive. My favorite being that I use my ipads differently than they had expected. "You didn't use them as more of the same but in an electronic form." Yup, Exactly! The power of the iPad is that it is different and can be used in ways that transcend the worksheet.
In a wonderful parody based on Goodnight Moon (by Margaret Wise Brown) we are reminded in Goodnight iPAD to unplug and how hard it is becoming for our children to do this. It is important to ensure children have down time away from screens . This fun book reminds us of that fact! And we need many more grandmothers like this in our children's lives!
Rethinking Lessons & Sharing
I no longer think that my student's projects or lessons will use paper, glue, tape, pencils or markers. This is a major shift and becoming less of a challenge for me. It is becoming easier to find the balance between paper and digital activities. I find I am using less paper and not printing as much. I now look forward to listening to my students Educreations and realize how far we have all come in less than a school year. I enjoy hearing their voices, watching their thinking process unfold. I had originally started this journey wanting to go paperless - save some trees and school funds. So where & how should student work be showcased? How has it changed what I know about my students? I find myself now thinking how do I want to share the student work before they do their work and how can I see and hear what they know or need more work on. I find my self looking at Apps with this in mind and sticking with those that can be easily shared via my class website and email. I find I need to really understand individual Apps and take the time to use them myself . But more importantly to take the time to plan how to use them well. To find the Apps strengths and weaknesses so I know in advance what Apps are best suited for which task and how I can easily share student work or my lessons . I am beginning to think about making my own teacher lessons as well. Another shift and another thought.
Took the plunge ! Edmodo Is a protected & secure educational place to connect, comment, collaborate and share content. One must be invited to participate and a teacher can moderate all posts before posting. I have chosen not to but do have an email notification sent to me for all student posts. Edmodo is similar to a facebook design. Today my students learned how to respond in complete sentences to a question my invented Pirate character asked them. We did this for three days. The first day only a few were able to figure out how to reply etc. But by day 3 all responded & saw their posts pop up after they hit the correct reply button & there were shouts of glee. It was wonderful for me to see a first for these kids. I also had my screen projected via Apple TV so their names were on the BIG screen. They each earned their first badge today!
Anytime & Anywhere Learning
One of the exciting & for me a shift in my teaching style aspects of the iPad is its ability to be used easily in a variety of locations, situations, purposes with its inherent encouragement for spontaneous learning and teaching. The wonderful thing is this opportunity to participate & engage in incidental and spontaneous learning opportunities is what learners need. I find this to be more responsive to my student's & on a level I have not before experienced.
Finally an Easier Way!!! Chirp it!
Chirp lets you send images, PDFs to nearby devices with Chirp installed and running. This means a student or I can send photos, charts to each other by passing syncing or emailing etc. Yeah!