Friday, January 6, 2012

8 Burning Questions About iPads in Class (Answered!)

I recently received an email from a media and tech teacher from a school district in Wisconsin.  The questions she has asked are awesome and could be helpful to others.  My answers to her questions are followed with actual video clips from my classroom. Enjoy and may this be helpful!

Questions are in bold!

How has it (implementation of iPads) gone for you and the students?
On a scale of 1-10 it's a 100!  The first month we experienced technical issues: not logging in right away, not connected to the internet, not sure how to use them, not what the uses would be.

Since then, we couldn't live without them!  The apps and constant access to the internet has opened up a whole new world of learning.  As one student just stated, "It allows me to learn by myself!" Ah! Self learning-isn't that a life long LEARNING lesson!

It has been a challenge to truly integrate the iPads and there many uses.  I'm not going to lie!  I don't sleep much, but I believe that I have truly come to understand how to integrate them! See this post!  It takes total out of the box thinking.

Take the concept that you need the students to master and think, "How can we do this on the iPad through an app or website!"

The students couldn't imagine school without the iPads.

So many students comment that they love having internet access to look up information to preview a concept.  Some of the favorite apps students like are the creative apps.  See all apps here and here!

What percentage of class time do the students use the iPads?
90% and increasing!!! Update From Friday's Class: Asked the students this question after explaining I received this email and their responses thrilled me.  They somewhat laughed and said, "Tell the teacher ALL THE TIME!"
I really see students moving away from paper notebooks and using their blog or an app to record their thoughts.

We also utilize Twitter as a place to incorporate the #pcsmmvp Most Valuable Point of the day.  Students have also connected their professional blogs with their Twitter account.

What types of activities are they using them for?
EVERYTHING!  The best way to see the activities is to take a half hour and view our YouTube channel!
Our most recent activity replaced a lecture by a teacher and placed the learning on students.  As the students  learned the content, myself and my learning support teacher moved throughout the room answering specific questions from students.  Totally engaged and totally on task!

Students Become Teachers!

How do they handle the onscreen keyboard?  Is it an issue?
Perfectly!  No.  Students are not using the traditional keyboarding finger placement as they would on a desktop or laptop, but it has not been an issue.  We purchased three wired keyboards to test and only 2-3 students ask to use them.  Others don't ask and type full paragraphs without saying a word.

How do you get apps installed?
We use the Bretford Cart and a Macbook.

Are the textbooks on the iPad?  good or bad?
Our textbooks are on the iPad, but not in the interactive way.  Not yet!  I use the smartboard notebook software and create a PDF of our chapters.  I email the students the chapter through our use of Google Apps for Education.  They download the book or open it with PaperPort notes or in iBooks and the book is on their iPad.

STUDENTS ABSOLUTELY RAVE ABOUT THIS!  They leave their traditional book at home and use the iPads at school.

It is not good!  IT IS GREAT!!!

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