After seven weeks (28 actual class days) of working with iPads, netbooks and desktop computers in the classroom in a 1:1 environment, my students have settled into a pretty swell routine. The apps most used by students to get their work done are Safari for Internet research, and Office2 HD for creating documents and/or adding them to their Google Docs. For fun I catch students playing Chess or Rush Hour. Along with Doodle Buddy, still a favorite, those are the apps students use the most.
On my iPad I find myself using Office2 HD whenever I need to work with documents. I also use Mail, Reeder, TwitBird Pro, Read It Later, Evernote, WordPress, Facebook, and Dictionary the most. I have used Gusto a few times when I want to edit my HW webpages on my iPad instead of pulling out my laptop. Our tech guy also turned me on to Desktop, which has been great for connecting to my Macs from my iPad, but I haven’t used it as much as I thought I would. Having the PDF Reader has also been invaluable since I get a lot of attachments via email.
What I’m most delighted with has been how students work in a 1:1 environment and how well they make use of the iPads for learning. They are truly using the technology as tools. It’s not about the technology, it’s about learning and working. I filmed a typical day of my students at work. What you see in that video is what I see every day! This is what I was hoping would happen. The technology is no different than books, paper and pencils were when I was in school. This is how it should be. Check it out:
Do we also do hands-on work in my Science classes? Of course! We do labs and students test questions they come up with as well as design their own labs. My 6th graders also do the following water quality testing on our neighborhood creek every year (it’s a video). Tech is just one of many tools in our arsenal as teachers. We, the teachers, the educators, the facilitators help guide our students so that they don’t just find quick answers and spend all their time learning a technology tool but that they also learn to think critically and deeply about the topics they are studying and that they use the technology to share what they’ve learned to get feedback from others. Some of my goals for my students, especially concerning technology use, is to have them collaborate, connect and communicate (new addition: create).