Experimenting with iPads

Experimenting with iPads

Good evening!

As you’ve probably heard, we have started experimenting with iPads in the classroom. The students are very lucky as we are one of the few classes who will be working with them this term. I was hoping to have these iPads available during my SFU inquiry (they are being lent to us by the VSB and were in a different school before arriving at JQ) but unfortunately, we received them a few days before Spring Break and I had to wrap up my little project.

As much as I’m liking this little adventure, things are not as easy as they seem. Let’s be honest here, technology that works without a glitch is rare. Here are the reasons why things are not going as smoothly as we’d like:

1-Our wireless internet connection doesn’t work well. It’s often going on/off with most of the times being “off”.

2-The iPads are shared with another class and there are only 15 of them. We all get along fine but learning with technology is often hard to schedule. In “my ideal kind of world”, all students would have their own iPad and nothing would be shared. This is just a dream, I know it.

3-We don’t own the iPads so we don’t have as much freedom when it comes down to installing new apps. To do so, we have to send a request to the main VSB office. This takes time.

Since this is our first time dealing with such a large number of iPads at our school, I often find myself in challenging situations. I have heard many colleagues from other schools tell me about their experience but it wasn’t until I started playing with them in my class that I began learning some valuable lessons. Thankfully, there are a few colleagues with whom I frequently talk and we troubleshoot together. Mme Geneviève, M.D. and Mme Celia, our teacher librarian, have been extremely helpful and we are working well together.

I am also extremely lucky to meet regularly with a group of Surrey teachers, who are all enrolled in the same program as me. My SFU class is on Wednesday evenings and every time I come back home, I feel energized and I want to try new things.

This past Wednesday, I learned something very cool: how to convert an old overhead projector into a document camera. Ideally, an Apple TV should also be in place to project the work using our class projector, but at the moment, I intend to work without Apple TV. Here’s a picture of the reused piece of technology that a teacher from my program made.

doc_cam5

This was such an exciting moment that I dreamed about it last night. And I made my own this morning, as I got to school! The set up is pretty simple and it only required that I unscrew a part and glue a few pieces of velcro. I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet but I sure plan to do so next week.

All of this has also inspired me to do some online research. This evening, I read a bit more about iPads in the classroom and I’d like to share two things I read with you.

1) One article: The Smart Way to Use iPads in the Classroom (it’s not just about the apps and definitely not about games!)

2) One blog post: Using iPads to Transform Teaching and Learning (make sure you watch the 20 sec. video!)

I hope you enjoy. Have a great weekend everyone!

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