Friday, May 1, 2015

Comparing our Options, Eric Currie, Librarian, Hitch Elementary School

I started this REVTIAL journey with practically no dedicated technology at my disposal in the library.  The REVITAL grant brought with it more support from my administration, who had purchased chromebooks for the library and a couple of classrooms in the building.  Teachers saw the benefit of having these devices in their classrooms and began to piecemeal their own collections through CTU reimbursement funds, DonorsChoose, etc.  I’d like to take this opportunity to talk about when these technologies shine and how I’d like to use them moving forward.

I personally feel that the iPad excels as a creation tool rather than a consumption tool.  The device and the apps that we used are generally very intuitive to where students can usually figure out how to begin creating on their own.  Sharing out and app smashing is where things can get tricky, but this is where having an understanding of the iPad ecosystem comes in handy.  Students from one 2nd grade were able to come in during an open period to use the iPad’s Green Screen by DoInk app to film some informative texts they had made in their classroom.  WIth the help of their classroom teacher, 31 students were able to find an image and record their short vignette in 45 minutes.  Though this might be more an example of excellent classroom management, I think the intuitiveness of the iPad played no small roll.

Chromebooks, however, feel more efficient.  Maybe it’s the keyboard, maybe it’s the productivity tools that are easily at your fingertips with GAFE; but I feel that a chromebook represents a time to work.  That is not necessarily a bad thing.  Chromebooks win hands down when it comes to collaborating digitally in real time.  The iPad can do it, but the collaborative tools feel more at home on the Chromebook.  I find myself typically having students start off on chromebooks to complete research and then moving to do something creative on the iPads.  In a recent project, students conducted short biography research on the chromebooks and created a Chatterpix on the iPad.  I just started a project with my middle schoolers where I’m flipping this idea in that students are creating something on the chromebooks (a book trailer) and using the iPads as the consumption tool via the Aurasma app.

Moving forward I would really like to take some of of the things I’ve learned from attending Tech Talk 2015 to use technology more effectively in the library.  One of the biggest take aways from that event was from Wynter Rose’s session “Gamification: Personalized Learning and Assessment.”  Aside from the idea in general (which I think is a great way to get buy-in, differentiate, etc.) I like that she first looks at the skill she wants to focus on and builds the “Quests” around that skill.  Technology only plays a role in how kids are going to demonstrate their mastery of the skill.  It made me realize that I might have gotten too caught up with wanting to provide my students with technological experiences that I might have lost sight of what I truly want them to learn.  Thanks Tech Talk for getting me back on track!

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