Innovating education with technology.
I've had a few teachers ask for recommendations on how to best utilize a set of shared iPads in lower elementary classes. The question isn't so much about a list of apps - it's more about educational objectives and best practices.
Put your creative thinking caps on ... what can you suggest?
Our experience is that the iPads need to belong to the classroom, not a cart in the hall. Our K teachers have found many creative and exciting ways to use their small set (only 6) and love the ability to bring them out when the mood is right. We have been blogging about our process, which would give a richer view of what is possible: http://sfsipads.blogspot.com/
The Tennessee Board of Regents eLearning (www.tbrelearning.org) and MERLOT (www.merlot.org) created a best practice template for teaching and learning with mobile apps. We ask our faculty to use this template to document their best practices in utilizing mobile apps for teaching and learning: http://contentbuilder.merlot.org/toolkit/html/snapshot.php?id=89508...
Robbie K. Melton
We started in mid-January piloting two iPads in each of five first grade classrooms in Yarmouth, ME. We are meeting to talk about apps, management and other issues. We are enjoying using Apple TVs connected to projectors so that teachers can walk around the room with the iPad. We are going slowly with apps, using TumbleBooks online from the public library and we are just starting to select paid apps to purchase. I blog about this and other learning enhanced by technology at http://yestechchat.blogspot.com.
My K-5 school has set up a Learning Lab (think computer lab) to offer one set of iPads for use by all 23 classes across all grade levels. The Learning Lab also offers board games, desktop computers and books, and we have the luxury of an empty classroom to use for the activities, but the keystone is our set of iPads and iPods. We configured our iPads with folders for each content area's apps, and a folder where we moved all of the utilities (email, contacts, app store, etc.)
If you are using a cart, you could consider it a "Lab" on a cart. We wanted our devices configured like the computers are in a computer lab--apps in places that are clearly labelled and easy to find for students and teachers.
We also set up a generic gmail account to attach to the devices that enables teachers/students to email photos or other information to themselves or their teachers. This means that the devices are not "owned" by a single class/teacher but all teachers have the same level of access to them. Teachers do have to sign up for a time slot to use the lab which might hinder spontaneous use, but the system is working well in my building.
Great collection of Science activities on your class website Leah...
Leah Lacrosse said:
I love the comment...bring them out when the mood is right. That is a really cool way to describe it! I love having a set in my room that we pick up at the beginning of class and use as we need. We may send a tweet here, jump onto edmodo there, draw a quick picture for this concept, use to video an experiment/demonstration, google a question, and more. We love to use our devices for making keynotes, imovies, comic strips, and more. Using these apps to show what we are learning is really the coolest way to use them. Creating, sharing, and learning from each other validates the student work. So my thoughts are to implement the iPad as another (really cool) tool in our belts for learning, growing, and questioning. And, use it to do those "rock star" projects to show student ideas. Student work can be found at bit.ly/huronlacrosse
We have had a very fast and positive experience starting an iPad programme in Grade 1. Very unexpectedly we had a small set of 6 iPads to use in my Gr.1 class. So Bang...we started and it has been great!
We have recorded our journey on our blog. http://blogs.biss.com.cn/ipads/
Hopefully it can help others in their journey. But for me it is the window to technology with this age group! There are so many options and for us the key has been collaboration, play and integrating the iPad into our programme as a resource for achieving a great variety of tasks.