16 August 2014

7 Ways I Used iPads Week 1

Just ten iPads have made my classes and student interactions easier, more engaging, more exciting, and more enjoyable, and all in just the first week!

Policy dictates we review school rules and procedures during the first day, which is not the first day of classes, more of an orientation day by grade level. I had seniors, so I paired them up and gave them a 35-question Kahoot! quiz on what to do and what not to do. You have never seen a group of seniors so ecstatic about rules!

First Day Fun Stations were a hit! Students got a feel for all three modes of communication, the kinds of texts they'd be interacting with, and exactly how far out on a limb they'd be expected to go. 
  • They used the iPads to record themselves attempting a conversation with cognates and the few words they'd picked up from middle school and Taco Bell using the Sock Puppets app.
  • They took "shelfies" with books and magazines from my class library they might like to read and emailed or tweeted them to me.
  • They even used them to pinch hit when the laptop log-ins went wonky and wouldn't let them on so they could explore the class syllabus on ThingLink.
  • A handful even got started on their translator/dictionary introduction assignment through Google Classroom and Google Drive!

The iPads have been especially indispensable in my tiny Film and Literature class where I have half of the seniors. Of course they're loving the Kahoot reading checks (versus the for-credit quizzes I did back before I was a Spanglish teacher), and it's a much more entertaining way to make sure everyone A) did their reading and B) understood what was going on. It's much more helpful to get everyone on the same page and talk through the answers that just spring a Gotcha on them.  I'm also really enjoying watching them interact with The Princess Bride  through a TodaysMeet.com back channel, and it's really made it clear the parallels between film analysis and literature analysis. In fact, next week, we're going to talk about what good readers do and apply those habits to the commenting.
Image via NASSP

On the SAMR model, it's true that most of these activities like Kahoot and Google Drive assignment completion are mostly at the Substitution and Augmentation level, though back channels and interactive syllabuses are certainly approaching Redefinition. The novelty will wear off in the coming weeks, so it will be essential to move beyond the first half of SAMR to maintain the momentum that iPads helped me get going this year.

But it certainly has been a good start, and I look forward to seeing what else we'll do with iPads!

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