My students and I had a unique opportunity recently to host guests from our local PBS station here in Austin, Texas. On the brink of iPad’s 10th anniversary, folks at KLRU came to visit our district, Eanes ISD, to chat with my colleagues and me about how iPad has changed teaching and learning in our schools. The first installment of the “Screens In School” series was released today (credit to KLRU for the classroom photos in this post).
On the day of the classroom visit, my students were starting a unit of study on rational numbers. It also happened to be the first time students were able to use their graphing calculators, so we addressed a few basic features that day, such as turning them on and off, clearing the screen, how to represent negative rational numbers ( in “real life” a negative sign and a minus sign have the same math job, but the calculator has been programmed differently) and how the calculator communicates about repeating decimals (rounding the last digit using traditional rounding rules… five or above, give it a shove). Through this nuts-and-bolts experience using a Nearpod lesson (created in Keynote initially), we began defining things like terminating, repeating, ratio, rational, etc. The proximity of the iPad helped students find the buttons and menus so we could get into the lesson swiftly.
To start the lesson, each student had the opportunity to apply the definition of “rational” using Nearpod’s ‘Draw It‘ feature to “create a rational number you think NO ONE else will think of in this room” (credit to Dan Meyer for that strategy). We examined student creations and compared each number to the definition of “rational” to ensure that it met the criteria. Positive values, negative values, fractions, decimals, both benchmark-y and wacky, provided a variety of student-created examples to talk about.
After scrolling through students’ number creations anonymously at the front of the class, we did a “Stand & Talk” using a Venn diagram of subsets of rational numbers as our visual (credit to Sara VanDerWerf for that strategy).
After students shared their ‘noticings’ about how subsets of numbers relate, students completed poll questions and quizzes to check for understanding in Nearpod. To close, students completed a rational numbers Desmos Polygraph, which empowered them to craft meaningful questions using appropriate academic vocabulary in a virtual partner game across the room (credit to Jennifer Vadnais for that resource).
I’m so thankful to have had this opportunity with KLRU to share a snippet of the “flow” that can happen in a 1:1 iPad classroom. Instruction and assessment blur and truly become one and the same. Student collaboration and communication are empowered because of the ability to seamlessly share visuals, ask poll and quiz questions, and provide every student with the opportunity to create and share their own unique mathematical thinking.
Given that the title of this PBS series is “Screens in School”, this thoughtful read might also be of interest.
My favorite quote from the speech:
“… how can we talk about screen time without knowing what is taking place on the screen?”