Friday, December 9, 2011

Update 2: iP@ds in my classroom #EdChat #EdTech #PBL

This is Update 2 for my iPad project. Here is my first update.

My students have spent the past two weeks working on their projects. They are working in groups to create the ideal transcendental its society. The first few days with the iPads was more of a "What can we do we these?" experience for the kids. They logged into apps and took pictures using Photobooth. It was overall silliness at times, but I knew that was going to be the case, so I let them have fun. I really think that is important to remember. Some of these kids have never used an iPad outside of the Apple store and they should have a chance to play with them within the context of school and learning. I want them to see the iPad as a tool to explore the world, not just as another computer to do menial tasks.

After the playful period, students began to do serious work. Kids were using SketchPad Pro to design crests and flags for their community. They also used it to create detailed maps of their society. Some students utilized Pages to create the groups rules and job descriptions. It was great to see them working hard and collaboratively. It was a surreal experience at times. There were instances where it was dead silent as students all worked on various parts of their projects. I'm excited to see the work two students are going to present after writing a rap and using GarageBand to create beats to perform to. It's something that would not have been possible before. One of those students actually came in to school early in the morning to work on the iPad. He said it was the most fun he had ever had writing before. You cannot ask for better feedback than that.

Dropbox has been a great tool for my students. Signing them up to accounts at the start of the year is one of the best things I did this year. Without pushing, students created their own group shared folders and have been putting all of their work there. Students have been able to upload photos and videos from the app to work on at home. Dropbox has allowed the students to quickly and easily share all of their work. I also noticed that students have created folders for other classes as well, so I know they are really enjoying the program.

Kids have spent the past two days filming and editing using iMovie. I've only had to help a couple of groups with some user issues, but students have mostly figured out how to use the apps on their own. I think that is something that has always stood out about the iPad. The device itself and many of the apps are very easy to use and understand. It has allowed the students to spend more time on creation and that pays off when it comes to learning. I really look forward to sharing some of the projects with all of you once they have been presented in class.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions.


  1. My school has been working to pilot programs with iPads and laptops. The big question in the middle school is which is more conducive to learning- an iPad or a laptop? We have departmental laptop carts, and I was given 1 iPad through a grant to experiment with. We recently got GoogleDocs for all students, too. It is great to read about your experiences. Your courage to try new things with the kids gives me encouragement to do the same. Today we are simulating medieval monastic life, taking oaths of silence, and holding a discussion using text messages and Being ok with letting the kids direct things is hard, but can be so great!

  2. You mentioned students uploading video to Dropbox to work on at home. Are they uploading video from iMovie? From the Camera app?

    And then what are they using at home to work on it?

    We have struggled with how to do this so kids are limited to filming and editing all on the same iPad.

    Any suggestions?

  3. Matt,

    Once students have worked on iMovie, they can save it to Camera Roll. In the Dropbox app, they can can upload video from the Camera Roll. Once they get home, they can do further editing on iMovie or other editing software.

    However, students cannot take an edited piece and continue to work on the iPads. Found that out today. That is something important to keep in mind. For iPad video editing, it appears to be all or nothing.

  4. Nice post. Sounds like you rock! We are beginning our BYOD implementation at the 6th grade level at my campus. We're blogging about on my blog.

    One you know what kind of WAPs your campus has? Brand?

    ...and do you know how many classrooms per WAP?

  5. Just wondering how you are addressing posture issues with your students. Looking at the photos it seems that students are more hunched over than if they were using a laptop or desktop. Even with the screens on an angle their neck is bent over more. I realise that this would be the same with pencil, paper and books, but with more information coming out of the ipad they might be spending more time in hunched positions.

    This is something I am looking into with younger students and ipads.


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