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.