Saturday, April 5, 2014

Lessons Learned with iPads by Peggy Rux, Librarian, Pasteur Elementary School

Recently, Louis Pasteur Elementary School Library received ten iPads from a REVITAL (RE-enVision to Integrate Technology and Libraries) Grant through the Chicago Public Schools Department of Libraries. While there were currently 31 iPads already housed inside the library, they were being shared with classrooms in grades three through six.  Therefore, use was limited. Receiving these iPads has made it possible to plan long-term lessons utilizing technology.
Along the way, I have learned some lessons on integrating this technology in the library. First, it is important to have the students understand that the acceptable use policy that they signed at the beginning of the year applies to the use ALL technology including the iPads. Second, I found it easier to keep track of the iPads by color coding and numbering the home screen. Since there were already iPads in the library which were numbered 1-31 in red, I starting numbering the new iPads in blue. I set both the home screen and screen saver to that number. Students were given an iPad number for 1:1 use in the library.  Finally, it was important to take the time to demonstrate the proper use and care of the iPads.
After teaching students the proper use and care for the iPads, my next lesson involved having students use the iPads for accessing SOAR.  A shortcut was placed on the dock of the iPad for ease in access. Now, students enter the library, retrieve their iPad and begin looking for books! The lesson included accessing SOAR both at home and school. By the end of the lesson students were able to locate books, both print and electronic for independent reading and research. They were also able to demonstrate how to search the various databases provided by CPS. In addition, each table has a “toolbox” with graphic aids to assist them in their work. One of these “tools” is the procedure for checking out books.
Some of the units that I have created include; Toontastic fractured fairytales.  This works great with the primary grades. They work in small groups and storyboard before using the Toontastic app. This app is free! While you can include more settings and characters for about $2 each, I found that the students enjoy drawing their own scenes and creating their own characters.  Another fun project that I worked on with fourth and fifth grade students involves using the app Educreations. During poetry month in April students read poems from a variety of poets. They choose their favorite poet, and create a slide show; first explaining what it is about the poet that impresses them the most, then they read the poem and use pictures to illustrate their vision of the poem. I create a Google email address for each grade level and the students submit their projects to me using this address. Both of these projects are a fun way to end the school year!

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