Monday, November 24, 2014

Combining Chromebooks with iPads in the Library, Janice Wellborn , Librarian, Hernandez Middle School

This year I have a schedule where I teach nine different classes a week with all but three classes being seen twice a week.  I have been trying to keep each class doing pretty much the same work assignment, mainly to maintain my own sanity.  Since I only teach seventh and eighth grade right now, it has been working out pretty well.

We started a project on Ebola approximately one month ago.  At the outset students did research on Ebola independently on desktop computers.  After doing their initial research and responding to five questions I designed, the students then made Bitstrip comics showing off their information.

Now that all students have a basic grasp of the virus, I assigned students to work in groups of 2-4 kids. Using Chromebooks, each group was given the task of deciding on a message they wanted to impart to the public in a PSA.  This was a bit of a challenge as many students wanted to inform people about all the facts that they knew about the virus.  Instead, I wanted them to aim to inform about one discrete piece of information such as how the virus is transmitted. Once they had determined a message they wrote out their scripts.  Using Google Docs, they shared their scripts with me and I printed them out for use in making their movies.

With scripts in hand, and parts assigned to each student, the classes began practicing making iMovies on their iPads. There was some grumbling at first coming from people who did not want to see themselves on film, but when it was done everyone seemed to really enjoy the project.  

The kids took to the Chromebooks very quickly even though most shortcuts were unknown to them.  Likewise, as we use more and different technology, I have seen a lot of growth and confidence in problem solving with the students.  They seem to enjoy the fact that I often do not have the answer to a “How do I do X?” question and I tell them to let me know when they figure it out.  Since we do not have a technology teacher anymore, I feel that the use of these technologies in the library is a real asset to the school.

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