21st Century Classroom

I promised my admin that if an iPad 2 made an appearance in my classroom, I would dedicate my next blog post to all the cool stuff it could do, so here it is.

First, I want to note that the “cool factor” isn’t really a factor; yes, the iPads are cool, but I think that if they don’t enhance the learning in the classroom then they aren’t worth the investment.

In addition to what we have already been doing with the iPad1s, the iPad2 has pushed the creation of content light years from where it was. We know that students are already big consumers of content, but how do we make them content producers too?

Building a camera into the technology makes it really intuitive.

So far, I have used it for enrichment with a student who is already weeks ahead on his novel study. In addition to creating a traditional book report, he is in the middle of creating a book trailer with iMovie. The students are practically fighting each other for the next chance to film a book trailer, but my criteria is that their traditional book report be done first and that it be well done. I hesitate to include the movie right now, because it is a work in progress but I think it is valuable to see what is being done, and as I tell my students, creative work is hard to share because we are opening up our hearts to criticism, but criticism often makes our work better. I met with this student about his video and he sees where he will improve it. I look forward to sharing the finished version when it is done.

It has been used to support weaker students by creating oral/visual flash cards of French vocabulary.

To collaborate and brainstorm:

For organization. With 25 students in my regular room and 31 students in my math room, organization is key. I currently have one student (on a rotating basis) every last recess who gets to access the classroom website via the WordPress app and update the daily homework. Students who are absent check the website from home or upon their return and get caught back up.

It has been used to green the classroom by making worksheets digital. This being said, I don’t think digital worksheets are the best way to learn, but sometimes they are an easy way to reinforce a skill set.

It has been used to share as students work in small groups on their iPads and then share to the projector via air sharing.

It has been used to communicate as all of my contacts are loaded into it and I can easily create distribution lists for newsletters and quick communications with parents regarding child progress.

The technology cupboard has been an evolving project, but I seem to have found a solution that works:

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The cupboard has three dish racks from the dollar store, the top rack being for 9 keyboards, the middle being for 10 iPads, and the bottom being for 10 iPods. The bottom rack also houses 2 small tackle boxes: 1 for earbuds and 1 for mics for the iPods.

2 thoughts on “21st Century Classroom”

  1. It’s great to hear that iPads are being used in the classroom – are you in America? I’m in the UK and I have a six year old son. He uses an iPad at home for spellings and maths and it’s a great learning tool, but his school has regular PCs. (The local McDonalds has iPads for the kids to play on but our school says they don’t have the budget!) Are iPads used a lot in schools or are you just lucky to have them? 🙂

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    1. I am in Saskatchewan, Canada. I have been very fortunate in my teaching career to have all of the technology I have. Our home and school community association has provided one iPad2 for every teacher in our building, which is no small commitment with approximately 35 teachers in our school. In addition to that, I, together with a team of three other teachers, put together a video for the Best Buy Best in Class grant, which awarded us $50 000. We used that money to buy 27 iPads, cases, and keyboards. My school board also piloted several technology pods by putting 9 iPods into several classrooms, including mine. My HSCC also provided me with a SMART board. I am over the moon with all of the support I’ve had and it has absolutely changed the way I teach and the way students learn in my classroom! I find that the iPads are MUCH easier for younger students to use than computers. When I bring in laptops, I often spend much of the teaching period trouble shooting, but with the iPads and iPods the kids get right to work. Granted, I have all of the technology synced to my computer, so I know exactly how it will act and it’s housed in my classroom, so I know it’s maintained exactly the way I want it to be!

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