Break the Chains and Get More Mobile!

We all do *things* in our classrooms that are simply *normal* to us as teachers… it’s what we do every day… effective routines and strategies that we do because that’s what we do. Some of these seemingly *normal* things, when shared with others, provide amazing a-ha moments that make each of us better at what we do!  So, here’s one of those shares that has become part of my students’ classroom *normal*.

My PD A-Ha Throwback:

Having had the opportunity to attend various conferences and trainings, I first experienced today’s tip as a participant.  My colleagues and I attended a Nearpod training, and we’d completed a task where all of our “Draw It” work was anonymized on a big screen at the front of the room from the trainer’s laptop computer… but the trainer ALSO held an iPad in his hand.  While we examined what the trainer wanted us to see on the screen, anonymized and strategically chosen for our viewing, the trainer repeatedly referenced his own iPad held in his hands, giving individuals in the room specific verbal praise and feedback.

Wait.  We can see anonymous class feedback and work on the big screen from his laptop… but he’s also logged in to the SAME session, seeing what we’re doing on his iPad, as the teacher?  In TWO PLACES simultaneously?!? 

The trainer was completely FREE to roam around the room.  The big screen maintained its place at the arbitrary front of that room, but the trainer, iPad in hand, could walk around, provide feedback, check in with individuals as the need arose, and even advance to the next task within the Nearpod activity… all from his iPad.

In that moment, I was like… DUDE.  

Why haven’t I been doing this for my students?

This run-an-activity-from-two-devices-simultaneously tip works for Desmos Activity Builder too!  Being able to showcase (or not) student thinking on the big screen from my laptop, while pausing, advancing to the next screen, viewing student thinking in real-time on my own iPad… it’s gloriously liberating to be MOBILE and be able to visit with specific students or student groups to INTERVENE and provide specific verbal FEEDBACK to the work students are doing RIGHT NOW. 

One advantage to Nearpod in this realm is that students can be anonymous on the big screen, yet the teacher can choose to view students’ names on her own iPad… in Desmos, if student names are anonymized, they are anonymous on the teacher’s laptop AND the teacher’s mobile tablet.  

Do you feel like you’re *stuck* at the from of the classroom during a Nearpod or Desmos Activity?

Do you have access to two teacher devices?  

If so, give this a try!  

Break the chains, get more mobile, and see timely student thinking that you might have been missing before!   

Don’t have a second device or a tablet?  Not always ideal, depending on the size of your phone… but rather than use a tablet, give your phone a try as your second mobile device!

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