Earlier this week, one of my (favorite!) former principals, Jackie Santanasto, graciously invited me to FaceTime with a class of aspiring principals she’s currently teaching at Lehigh University. Educators from across the country are taking part in this program at Lehigh entitled “The Urban Principals Academy at Lehigh” or U*PAL for short. It sounds like an amazing and intense opportunity, and it was refreshing to meet with them across the miles. For those that don’t know, Lehigh University is located in Bethlehem, PA. My husband and I both worked in the Bethlehem Area School District before our move across the country to Austin, Texas in March 2012… that is a story for another time!
The general topic of our FaceTime meeting was to discuss assessment, and how technology and having 1:1 iPads has impacted gaining meaningful and instant student feedback. I shared about ways I’d used Socrative and Nearpod in my classroom, and the “buzz” that sharing real-time data created for my (naturally very social) middle school students. I also shared about how handy having right-on-time data was to help adjust my instruction during that very class period.
After a rich question-and-answer session, two topics stuck with me well after our chat. I wanted to follow-up and share some resources on two take-aways:
(Idea #1) The perception that having 1:1 iPads may imply isolation and a lack of collaboration
I hadn’t thought of this perception, and hearing it articulated made me realize that others may assume that one-iPad-per-student might sound very isolating. It just goes to show that the creative ways teachers facilitate iPad use in the classroom can go either way – promoting isolation, or promoting collaboration (or, perhaps, a balance between the two extremes). It’s not about the device, but how the device is used in already-effective teaching strategies, as good pedagogy is good pedagogy, with or without iPads. Here are a few ideas – those that I tried this past school year and blogged about are linked to specific posts for your reference.
Here are some additional resources that describe ways to use iPads to promote collaboration:
6 Ways Students Can Collaborate With iPads and I Want My Students to Collaborate Using iPads A side note: my new friend Reshan Richards’ screencasting app “Explain Everything” makes the top of the list in both articles!
Another new pal Monica Burns contributes these iPad Collaboration resources: Apps For Turning the iPad Into a Collaborative Device and iPad Apps That Facilitate Student Collaboration
(Idea #2) Is it worth it to use iPad in the classroom if a teacher only has ONE iPad?
I very frankly admitted being completely spoiled, going from zero iPads to a 1:1 environment, yet others who only have one iPad have effectively integrated it in some very creative ways. Using teacher-created screencasts, random-name generators and other classroom management apps, creating videos, or having an iPad “station” among other “rotations” tasks are some ways to start. Feeling brave? If a district permits a “BYOD” environment (Bring Your Own Device) some of the collaboration suggestions above can apply. Here are some articles that give food for thought – one iPad is surely better than none!
I hope these resources are helpful – thank you to Jackie and the fine group of U*PAL-Future-Principals for engaging in a long-distance discussion that still has my wheels turning!