One to one
Having just completed a year with 5th graders piloting a 1:1 program with homerooms experimenting with iPads and Macbooks, it has been exciting, challenging, and filled with teacher and student learning opportunities.
When students brought their iPad or Macbook to class, it was important to be very clear when the expectation was for the students to use or be on their devices. It was especially important to establish the routine of having students keep their devices on their desks to help avoid any wandering off to e-mail or other more attractive applications. When calling the class’ attention, we made it a routine to turn off the iPad screen or shut the lid of the Macbook. This definitely helped to limit off-task behavior and the urge to surf the apps or the internet.
With students being able to store all of their work on one device and also be able to take the hardware with them allowed students to maximize their time and efforts on a given assignment or project. With the connectivity provided with a dongle for either the iPad or the Macbook, students could easily bring their devices up to the data projector and quickly switch into presentation mode for the class. For a teacher usually pressed for time, this was definitely a positive for me.
Now that the regular school year has ended, I am now in summer school mode. I am very lucky to once again be able to teach social studies and geography utilizing the computer lab to access the resources available on the internet.
The shared drive for the elementary school was immediately taken offline once summer started. As a result, I had a bit of a scramble finding an alternative for sharing files, hyperlinks, video clips, etc. I know that I did not want to load each computer with the files using a thumb drive. Thankfully, Josh Raub, our assistant head of technology came to a quick rescue. We decided that Googlesites would be the way to go. Josh gave me a crash course lesson on how to embed videos and some of the other related functions and then I was on my way adding links and content.
While only a forty-five minute block of instructional time with 2nd to 4th graders, I work on mixing-up the class time so that we are not just heading straight for a computer and staring at a monitor for the entire class time. At the start, we all gather on the carpet. We do a quick review of what we learned in the previous class. In groups of two to three, students have to share their thoughts with their peers. Everyone gets a chance to speak within their small groups, and then I ask for some sharing to the whole group.
While students are all together on the carpet, I may share part of a video and pause along the way checking for understanding and asking for students to turn and talk to their neighbor. While on the carpet, I also can give an overview on a specific skill–how to important a picture into Power Point or how to add a text box in order to credit the source of information or media.