Saturday, November 19, 2016

How do you want to utilize iPads?

 I recently presented a day long workshop for elementary teachers and asked them to post what they wanted from the apps that they utilized in their classrooms on a Padlet board. I was extremely excited to see that the transformation from skill-based app use to purposeful, daily use for learning, creating and parent involvement was something that these teachers were realizing needed to happen.

iPads are a PHENOMENAL tool and so often, are underutilized in our classrooms due to our lack of knowledge, time, or the perception that our students are too young to handle the creation-based apps and collaborative aspect that iPads can bring. 

As a former 1st grade teacher, I can tell you with 100% certainty, that even our youngest students can handle these skills! My first graders never ceased to amaze me with how they handled the challenges I put in front of them. Every time I thought we reached the pinnacle of what was developmentally appropriate they proved me wrong. 

Please don't short change your students by handing them an iPad to "play on" during Daily 5. Skill-based apps certainly have a time and place and can be a great addition to pieces of our curriculum for short term practice but the true power happens when your students can use the ipad as a TOOL and show what they know, showcase their learning and share that knowledge with others. 

I often times have people tell me that that transformation just isn't possible with limited devices and unfortunately I often times am not the one that they will believe when I tell them it is totally possible as I was fortunate to be 1:1. I may not be able to say it from my own practice, but I can tell you that I have been in classrooms that only have 5 devices or use a shared cart of devices that are making these transformational shifts in their students' learning. Angela Gadtke, a former kindergarten teacher from MN (now Seesaw employee extraordinaire), was one of these teachers. As I followed her on Twitter and then had the privilege to meet her at TIES and talk with her in person I realized even more the great things that were happening in her classroom with five and six year olds. Yes, FIVE AND SIX. It can be done my friends!!! Does it take hard work, creativity and perseverance? You bet! Will it be worth it in the end? Oh my, YES!!!!!  I challenge you to see out those that you know are transforming the learning landscape in their classrooms and follow them on Twitter or if they're in your building, find some time to stop in and spend a few minutes in their room to see what they and their students are doing. Transformation happens in small steps, and this is a simple step to take on the journey.

Another resource I encourage you to take a peek at is the book, Innovate with iPad by Karen Lirenman and Kristen Wideen. Here's the website with more information about the book. For more amazing ideas/information, check out Karen's blog and Kristen's blog. I also wrote about this book in a previous blog post.

And here's 1 more resource you should check out from fellow ADE, Ryan Wiggins (@1stgradetech). He's written a book, Highlighting What You Can Do With 1 iPad in K-2, which is available for free in the iBooks store. Check out his website for even more ideas and inspiration.

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