It’s hard to believe that our journey began a few short months ago. Week by week our expectations for our students and ourselves take a giant leap forward. Students in my classes alone have learned to use Haiku Deck and Educreations for presentations, Adobe Ideas to illustrate comparing and ordering of fractions, and ST Math to supplement and support their conceptual math knowledge. I learned about Adobe Ideas from a colleague who uses it in her art classes. I could see how this app could help my students to compare and fractions by adding different colors and multiple layers to fraction bars imported from Google images. I was so excited that we started using the app later in our math classes.
After attending the SDCUE where I sat in a math workshop, I learned about using Explain Everything, Educreations, ThingLink and Show Me to create interactive presentations that students can share with each other as screencasts. In this workshop, participants also shared our knowledge, and tips and tricks with each other; for example, how to lock students into an app or program using accessibility features for those kiddos who like to visit other sites during instruction. I left the CUE totally exhilarated and inspired. Then back at school…..
I quickly realized that I needed to scale back and use only one or two new apps at a time until they’d been mastered. I’d forgotten something really important in my zeal to embrace all this new technology. The iPads and this shift in teaching and learning is so new to our students and staff. If every teacher expects students to fluently use 1-2 new apps, it could be, and has been, really overwhelming for them. For some students, this is the first time they have had an iPad in their hands and a lot of students were not as tech savvy as expected. While most students have cell phones I learned that many did not have internet access and only used their phone to text and make calls.
I also get frustrated with myself because I feel an obligation to be the tech expert in the classroom. Then something happens to remind me why our students were given this opportunity. The day a student led a tutorial on using iMovie. The students started sharing their own knowledge and skills and collaborated with one another to create movies about states of matter and cells. It was noisy and fun and I was so grateful and humbled that day. I look forward to seeing what my students and I can master next.