Friday, April 4, 2014

New to iPads by Eric Currie, Hitch Elementary School

Prior to being selected as a REVITAL grant recipient, I always thought, “I have this great idea for a project, but I need access to technology.”   Teaching multiple grade levels in one day and only seeing students at maximum twice a week, also meant having access to that technology for an extended period of time.  Sometimes it worked out.  Sometimes it didn’t.  

Over the summer, the administration had found some funds and decided to support the library with a collection of Chromebooks.  There weren’t enough Chromebooks to support my 30+ sized classes, but having consistent access to the technology meant students could have more experiences researching in databases and using their Google Accounts.

I was extremely excited about being selected for the REVITAL grant.  It meant I could increase the technological offerings of the library.  I received my iPads and their cases and I was ready to get to work.  

Then I got scared.  

I had no experience with Apple products, let alone iPads (in fact, I usually avoided them because I hated Apple Fanboyism).  My wife owns one, so iPads are not completely alien to me, but Facebook, shopping apps, and Pinterest (which is my about the extent the iPad is used for in my house) aren’t going to help my students use these in the manner I was hoping.  Luckily, my IT Coordinator was willing to help walk me through setting them up using Apple Configurator.  It was pretty nice, except we set them up incorrectly.  More on that experience later.

I’m still trying to figure out how to do things the Apple way, but I’m going to incorporate the iPads as much as I can into my teaching.  Students can at least use them to access the databases.  Hopefully, we’ll be using the iPads to get to some upper level Bloom’s in here soon.  The pictures show students accessing a Kids Infobits article to take Cornell Notes on an African country.  This tied into folk tales from the country that we used in a storytime.

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