Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Guided Discovery #1: Not Your Mother’s iPad

This year we are rolling out 1-to 2 iPads in K and 1, and 1-to-1 iPads in grades 2, 3, and 4. In each class I have the opportunity, during the critical first six weeks of school, to create expectations for how the iPads are seen and treated by kids. With two years of iPads to reflect on, my goal is to give the students full credit for what they already know about iPads, while making sure that the difference between a school iPad and a home iPad is established.

Not Your Mother’s iPad

In our first session, we talked about how this iPad is a classroom tool with apps that will help them create and share work for their classes. It’s not the iPad your mom hands you when the food is late at the restaurant, or you’re bored in the backseat. While your mom’s iPad might have games on it, and she might let you do whatever you like, the school iPad has apps carefully chosen by your teachers and you will use them for projects in school.

Encouraging Students to Discover and Share

Next, I drew an outline of an iPad, with our iBallz “case” and asked them to help me fill in the blanks. I decided to do this intro “old school” - on an old-fashioned white board or chart paper. This way our work could stay around for students to look at for a while. I asked students to tell me what was missing from the picture. As they came up and added things, we named them, and talked about what they did. An example is the “home” button, that has many jobs and many names. I left it up to the class to decide what to call it, although my personal favorite is “belly button”. After a few important additions were made to the drawing, I invited the students to take their iPads and spend three minutes exploring them without opening any apps. They were charged with finding three things to share they thought others might not know.

The exploration time helped students who were not as familiar with the iPad share discoveries and feel empowered by them. Depending on the group, we learned gestures, how to manage open apps, and how to use the search feature. When we added the battery symbol and % we were able to mention that when the battery is at 20% students should ask the teacher to charge their iPad at the end of the day. Many small details like that came out in this discussion that should help everyone feel more confident later.

The final drawing looked something like this:

After this, we guided students through using the camera app to take a photo of themselves with the front camera and set it as their lockscreen. Although the student’s name is on the back of the iPad, it is helpful to be able to press the home button and see the owner’s face as well.

Last but not least, we practiced putting the iPads away properly and making it clear that each of them is responsible for doing this well. The second session is about photos and how we establish class norms for photo-taking that everyone is comfortable with.

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