Wednesday, August 29, 2012

iPads in the classroom: A Reflection

Our school purchased 30 iPads to use in our classrooms. I was excited to try them out, so I got them into my room for 3 days. I thought I would take a moment to share with you my reflections on having iPads in the classroom. There's a wide variety of iPad skills in our middle school. Some have them at home and are very confident with them. Others have no idea how to use them. Fortunately for us, kids these days are naturally good at picking up on technology devices. The iPad is no different. Plus, the iPad makes it easier to navigate with some helpful tricks and formats. So, here are some things I noticed during my iPad days.
**The iPads started out at 100% battery power and by the end of the day (5 social studies class periods) they were only down to 77% without having been plugged in at all. 
**It is very time consuming to for yourself to pass out each iPad. I had my students line up at the cart and told them to use 2 hands carrying it back to their desk no matter what and if that did not use 2 hands, they would lose the iPad. 
**It is also very time consuming to plug them all in to their chargers. However, there is 0% chance of the iPad dying in one day, so that should not be an issue. 
**Screens get a lot of smudges on them with that many middle school hands touching them. Use any soft cloth to clean them. Many students like to do this for you. 
**You have to be very focused with your classroom management. You have to set the tone from the second those iPads are handed out otherwise you will lose your students attention. Put an iPad in front of some kids and they totally tune you out. Make sure they understand your expectation: Don't touch the screen when the teacher is talking/explaining.
**Students pick up on techniques and tricks very quickly overall. Great tool for SPED.
**After the activity is set up and the kids begin their work, student focus is awesome. From the perfect student to the most challenging, it doesn't matter. They get to work and get focused. 
**It takes more time than you think to get a dynamic lesson set up using multiple apps. Make sure you have a clear objective as far as what you want the student to do. Model and explain each step thoroughly. Otherwise, you will be answering the same question 20 times. 

I think the iPads are a quality tool. The goal is to use them in a way that what you do with them is not possible with pencil and paper. Use the power of Apple.

Coming soon: Apps you can use Right Now!

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