Friday, September 6, 2013

Blogging Our First Year with 1:1 iPads Week One

This year my school, and our whole articulation area, have been given a wonderful opportunity! Every student and teacher has been issued an iPad. Last year our class shared three old cranky notebooks. We were very grateful for them , but they weren't so effective. To learn more about the project click here

While this is a huge blessing there is also a lot to learn, and a lot of mistakes to be made. A big part of learning is reflection, so that's what I'm going to do here! Every week or two I'll reflect on what we've done and what we've learned.

So far we've made amazing progress! All my kids know how to treat their iPads. We spent a lot of time on little things like holding them with TWO HANDS, not setting them on the floor, where to keep them when they are not being used, and not forgetting that our backpacks hold precious cargo as we come and go from school!  They also have the basics of navigation down. Every student can turn it on, type in their unlock code, and turn it off again two different ways.  They can use five fingers to get home, and four to slide up and manage their open apps. This is huge because most of them had never even held a tablet before!

With all those skills firmly in place we set out to actually use them as an educational tool. Once everybody had their apps downloaded for Lexia and Raz-Kids they were raring to go.  They can all log on to their apps without help... for the most part.

Lexia (learn about it here ) is a great program that our school has purchased for student use. It works on phonemic awareness, phonics, and other literacy skills.  Above is a student working on phonemic awareness with Lexia. It was nice to have before, but we were limited by our lack of technology at school and in their homes.  Now it is invaluable, with the free Lexia Reading app every kid can have access to it every day in school. Those with home internet can also access it at home.

At my previous school most of the kids had devices at home, and there was more access to newer notebooks, so we used a program called Raz-Kids (find it here ). Due to a generous donation I was able to purchase a classroom license for my kiddos.  With Raz-Kids, students have access to hundreds of "just right" books online. They can read them independently, listen to them being read fluently, and take comprehension quizzes. The free app makes for easy access to all the books they could want wherever they can find Wi-Fi. Here is one of my kiddos taking a quiz on her iPad.

Our next step with the iPads was to use them as scientific tools. Just like "real" scientists we got out into the field (literally the field behind our school LOL) and looked for things to photograph. We are studying living and non-living things so my scientists had to take three pictures of each and later prove to the class why that particular specimen was living or non-living. Here we are... scientists on the move :)
We ended our first week with the iPads in science where we have moved on to the idea that living things grow and change over time, even people. Each student used their iPad to take pictures of their baby and toddler photos at home. The kiddos were super excited to show how they (a living thing) have grown and changed over time.
For the most part our first week went amazingly well.  We only had a few moments where kids were not quite doing what they were supposed to with their iPads, but I even consider that a success because it means they are increasing their skills with the device.
Next week ...typing our spelling words into the notes section  of our iPads to save on copies :)
Happy Teaching Friends!


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