Thursday, December 20, 2012

iPads in the EC Classroom

Good Morning All.

         As I sit here and reminisce about the semester gone by, I can't help but reflect upon all of the things that have been made possible because of iPads.  The students really enjoy the hands-on one-on-one aspect of learning that they provide.  The best app at our school is probably Splashtop because it allows students to interact with computer activities that are done in the classroom.  I have two students in my class that are not physically able to access the board for interactive whiteboard activities.  They are now able to participate by using the iPad and the Splashtop app.  It gives them a voice.

            One of the best apps on the iPad for me as a teacher is FREE.  The camera app that comes on the iPad enables us to take on the spot pictures and video of the kids in action.  We can then use those pictures for whatever we need to.  One of the main reasons we do this is to go along with our data collection.  We can get a snapshot of what the kids are able to do at that time.  The kids also enjoy seeing their pictures on the iPad.  

Jeremy Ross
EC Teacher
Conover School

Monday, December 3, 2012

Digital Class

There is no doubt that society is currently in a push to take advantage of technology and "go green" in an attempt to protect to some degree the earth's climate.This year in my classes I have attempted to go paperless. Assignments are sent out electronically, students  complete the assigned tasks and send the information to me through email or various other methods.

Rationale for the Paperless Classroom

I believe there are three major benefits to creating a "green," or paperless, classroom. Going paperless in the classroom reduces paper waste, which means that less energy is used in the making of paper and that fewer natural resources are destroyed.

It also creates a conservation mind-set in students and educates them on related issues. It creates "teachable" moments that often carry over into the home. Creating a paperless classroom also allows the teacher to introduce new technologies to students.

Program Highlights

One of the many IPAD applications that has allowed my classes to make this transition to a paperless classroom is the program EDMODO. Throughout my social studies lessons I have found ways to incorporate the social networking site to disperse assignments, spark conversations, and generate a positive platform of sharing information.

Edmodo provides teachers and students a secure place to connect and collaborate, share content and educational applications, and access homework, grades, class discussions and notifications. The program encourages a variety of communication in a variety of methods.

One of the things I tell my students when I initially introduce them to Edmodo is to embrace positive communication. I challenge my students to give up their typical ways of expressing themselves on other social sites and I encourage them to embrace positive communication. My class uses Edmodo as a ‘safe’ Facebook. The kids like the no drama zone, and the fact that they can send a message to me or the group and get an answer about just about anything. We have used it for current events assignments, summaries but my favorite is the poll.

The application has opened up an entirely new world for my students. They are learning that they can communicate through Edmodo in a way that can be constructive and thought provoking. As with many things, students need to know and understand what is expected of them. In particular, I use Edmodo to list assignments, answer questions, and communicate with parents. What I like most is that I can add assignments to the calendar that are automatically listed as either an assignment or an upcoming event. Assignments have past due dates while events simply remind the student there’s something due.

Dialogue and Reaching More Students

Social networking can be an incredible tool when it comes to reaching and engaging those "hard to reach" students. For those who are very shy and find it difficult to contribute to class discussions, being able to participate in a web-based environment can provide enough of a "veil of protection" so that child feels comfortable enough to open up. Contact of this kind is far less intimidating than face-to-face discussions. Dialogue becomes more fruitful when everyone participates, and when given clear guidelines for classroom discussions, students are able to express themselves in ways they did not feel comfortable doing so in class.

Friday, November 30, 2012

How to Use One Ipad in the Classroom

Many teachers have enjoyed having an ipad of their own to use. It is a great tool for teachers, but these tools can be used to enrich the classroom experience.

How can I possibly use just one ipad in the classroom?

One great way to use ipads in the classroom is to use them in small groups. Here are somethings that can be done in small groups with an ipad.

QR Codes
North Carolina QR Codes
You can create your own QR Codes at You can create your own text or math story problems for students to solve. You can have your students scan a QR codes so that they can go to a website that you would like them to work on or research. You can copy the codes and place them on a worksheet for station work.

iMovie App
Cost: $4.99

IMovie is another great tool that can be used in the classroom. You allow students to create their own imovie trailor for a book that they recently read to encourage others to also read the book. The students can also be assigned a project showing their knowledge of the content through creating a trailor or movie using this app. As a teacher, you can create a trailor to get students excited about a upcoming project that they will be learning about.

Tools for Students App
Cost: $0.99

This app is a great help in reading instruction. It has many graphic organizers that can be used to help students practice reading skills. Some of the graphic organizers include: Cause and Effect, Compare and Contrast, Character Traits, Drawing Conclusions, KWL, Fact and Opinion, Making Predictions, Problem/Climax, Solution, etc. This can also be used during small guided reading groups. The students are able to type in the graphic organizer and then it can be emailed to the teacher. Teachers can also use this in a whole group setting and allow the whole class to share and add the the graphic organizer.

Make Dice Lite App

On each dice the teacher can create tasks for their students to complete. The students can shake the dice and whatever it lands on will be the task that they will have to complete while in their workstation. They can also use this while playing a math game to determine what number they will have to divide by, etc.

Real World Math

With our new Common Core Curriculum, we must teacher our students math that they can see in the real world. With that being said, our students need to be able to find the information they need through internet reasearching using the ipad. This is a great activity that can be used in a small group. Our students are planning to attend a field trip at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. I created real world math problem solving that ties with our curriculum. There are multi-steps and mult-processes that the students will have to use as they research staying at the inn, food prices, adult ticket prices, etc. They can also share what they learned through imovie, educreations, or their classroom blog.

Problem Solving Biltmore

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Internet, Halloween, and Guided Math

Last night as I sat down to write this it was Halloween and my internet was not working. After long thoughts, I began to think it was the little ghouls in cyber space messing with me especially since I like to procrastinate. With all that said, I am safely at work now working on my post of many to come.

Since receiving the iPad Pilot classroom, life has been so much easier on me with great planning. In my guided math class, I begin each class where the students have 5 minutes to work on their facts using Mad Math Lite and Monster Math. These apps have helped the children improve on their multiplication and division facts. Once the five minutes have passed, we start Guided Math.
Here is a child working on Mad Math completing multiplication facts.

While at my station, I use various apps like: Alphabet Magnetic Letters, Nearpod, and Educreations. For example, we were working on multiplication a couple of weeks ago and I used a Nearpod Presentation on multiplication to engage students. They were asked how to solve a multiplication problem various ways, work out problems, and even answered a survey about how they felt about multiplication. I could easily see how they worked out their problems and how they felt about doing multiplication. There are so many possibilities to use the iPad in your Guided Math and I could talk about it for days but I will move on to my stations.
Example of survey given to students from my Nearpod Presentation.
During my guided math lessons, there are three stations that the children rotate through while I am teaching my group about the topic for that day or week. The first station I am going to talk about is the QR Code Station. At this station, the students are given the QR Code sheet and they are to scan the code using a QR Scanner on the iPad. After they scan the QR Code, they are to solve the problem on the sheet. The kids love the mystery about what the problem is going to say and are excited about working it out.
Example of a problem on the QR Code Sheet.
The next station that I have is the ScootPad Station. Here at this station they are practicing the skills that have been taught using this great app. ScootPad is an app that follows the new Common Core Standards and the students practice questions that could be on the end of year tests. Students are motivated by completing the standards and earning rewards that I have set up in the classroom.
The last and final station that the children rotate through is the skill station. Here the students are working on apps that go along with what I am teaching for that week or day. For instance, we have been working on prime and composite numbers. So the students have been working on an app called Astro Math. This apps allows the students to blast the meteorites that are factors the numbers of the bottom. They have to blast them until they become a prime number. The students master the level and move on by gaining three stars. After receiving the three stars, the students are then moved up to the next level where the factors begin to get harder. Below is a picture of a students working on Astro Math.
So far this year, Guided Math has been running smoothly and the students work harder now than they did before. They are more motivated because of the iPads and are learning just as much or even more. I enjoy looking for apps to supplement my teaching in Guided Math.

In the next couple of weeks, check back because I will be posting a blog about my students creating iMove Trailers to go along with our Traditional Literature Unit.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

QR Codes - More Ideas!!

This past Thursday, our district held our first ever Digital Days!!  This day was used for technology training for our district.  The district technology team and other tech savy staff members in our district provided the trainings.

I provided a training on "Coding Your Classroom Using QR Codes".  I wanted to share a few of the products that were developed during our training.

In my earlier post, I shared suggestions for a second grade classroom.  The following ideas are geared toward a Kindergarten class.

This teacher decided to create a Shape Scavenger Hunt.  Students will scan the first clue.  After they hear the voice activated clue, they will search around the room for an object that matches the clue. Once they find the object, they will find the next clue.

 Students will carry around the following worksheet and draw pictures or write the name of the object they found that matched the clue.
Thanks Julianne Surratte!!

The same teacher also created a "Can You Name That Shape?" worksheet.  Students will scan the clue. After they hear the voice activated clue, they will write or draw a picture for their answer.  Students will then cut out a picture from a magazine that matches the shape.

Thanks Julianne Surratte!!

This teacher created voice activated vocabulary cards.
Thanks Caitlin Jones!!

What a fun way to engage students in math and reading!! :)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Code Your Class with QR Codes

Earlier in the year I created a Scavenger Hunt for our Open House.  It was a HUGE hit in our classroom.  My kids keep asking me when they will get to scan again, so I have been working on a few new ways to integrate the QR codes into our classroom as well as looking through a few things my team created last year.


Math always seems to be the first subject I think of when using QR codes.  The codes can reveal the problems or the answers, so it is a logical place to start.

One of the activities we used last year was placed in a math station for problem-solving (2.OA.1).  Last year was our first year implementing the Common Core Standards, so we wanted to come up with a fun way for our students to practice explaining answers.

  • The students began the station by reading the problem.  They were able to work with the people in the group as they worked through the problem, but they were expected to show their work and explain their thinking on the worksheet.  
  • After working out the problem, each student scanned the QR code and compared the correct answer with the their answer and made corrections if needed.

This station ensured that each student got automatic feedback as they completed each problem.

Math Station Sheet

Example Answer from QR Code

We also created a Measurement Hunt QR Scan Activity which also includes activities that are aligned with Common Core Standards (2.MD.3 and 2.MD.4)  .

We used this activity during guided math group.  
  • We passed out the supplies (pipe cleaner, post-it note, paper, and index cards) and helped each group as needed.  
  • Once they measured the object and put the measurement in the empty box, they scanned the QR code.  The QR code gave them directions for changing the object (cut, fold, etc.).  
  • Once the object was cut, folded, etc., the students measured the object again and wrote down the new measurement.  
  • We then found the difference in length between the object at the beginning and at the end of the activity.  
This was a great way for our students to practice measuring and finding the differences between two measurements.  


This year I am trying to use the QR codes in more areas of my instruction and I found the PERFECT place!!

I use guided reading groups for my reading instruction.  I figure out the words they know (word recognition and meaning) as I complete a DRTA (Direct Reading/Thinking Activity - I can always give more information about DRTA's in a later post).   Vocabulary and word recognition are so important to growth in reading, so I wanted to come up with a fun way for my students to practice and learn new words (meaning and/or recognition), so I decided to use QR Codes . . . of course!! :)
Vocabulary Cards
Word Recognition Cards

  • I created a vocabulary template on Microsoft Publisher.  I typed the words on the left and then I left space for the QR codes on the right.  I used QR Voice to create the QR codes.  

  • My students that need support around word recognition use the cards during reading stations.  They read the word and then they scan the QR code to listen to the word.  

  • My students that need support around word meaning also use the cards during reading stations.  They read the word and they give the definition of the word to a partner.  They check their understanding by scanning the QR code.

My students LOVE practicing their words or studying vocabulary words . . . wouldn't you?!!


Now for the latest and greatest!  Well, at least I hope the kids think so!!

My students get a game board at the beginning of each month.  

Game Board

If my students stay on green (great behavior), they get a stamp on their game board at the end of the day.  Stick with me!!  I promise I am getting to the QR codes!!  

In the past I have given a soda or let them choose an item out of the treasure box if they make it to the end of the game board (earned a stamp every day).  Well, this year I am going to jazz things up a bit.  Here is what I am thinking. . . if a student makes it to the end of his/her game board, he/she can pick a prize out of the prize box or he/she can choose to scan QR code and earn the prize that is revealed!  So much fun!!  I am implementing these codes this month.  I can't wait to see my kids' faces when they see the different prizes that are revealed!!  Hopefully they won't be disappointed because none of the rewards are store bought!!  Check the rewards out by scanning the QR codes below!!

Here are a few of the reward codes that will be up in my room.  

I hope you enjoy "Coding" your class as much as I do!! :)

After providing training on QR codes at a district level, I wrote another post sharing ideas from the training.  Click here to check out the post.

My next adventure is to use QR Code Treasure Hunt Generator!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Having Fun With Morfo

Time to have some fun!!  

We have been working hard over the past few weeks, so it was time to take a break and have some fun with the iPads!

The Morfo app was the perfect app for some fun!  

The kids took a picture of themselves and then they morphed themselves!  They were able to change their hair, face, etc.  They were then able to record their voices and the morphed face would speak their words! 

We were even able to add some rock n' roll hair and music!

Even though this was a fun experience, we used it for educational purposes.  After playing around, we got to work!

I use elbow partners on a daily basis, where they turn and have a conversation with their partner.
Instead of elbow partners we used the Morfo app.  We used the app to review our Social Studies unit of financial literacy.  They were asked to define three words from our unit.  For example, "A consumer is someone who buys things."  After they recorded their voices, they switched iPads with their elbow partner and listened to their recording!  Not only did they review the words they chose, but they also reviewed the vocabulary words from their partner.  This was definitely more time consuming than elbow partners, but we had a BLAST doing it!

**We also used this app on the first day of school.  The students recorded three things about themselves and how they would go home on the first day of school, so they were already familiar with this app before using it for this Social Studies assignment.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Modified Flipped Classroom in 2nd Grade

Flipped Classroom in 2nd grade!!  I know . . . it sounds ridiculous, but I'm giving it a go.  Here is my plan:

I teach math with guided math groups.  While I am teaching one group, I will choose a team leader for my higher group.  This leader will run the Nearpod presentation for that day.  They will move through the presentation as everyone works through each slide.  This is how they will learn the standard for that day.  The presentations will include slides, videos of me teaching the standard, and quizes.

The team leader will be responsible for sharing quiz scores and giving feedback at the end of the session.  He/she will look on a checklist and will provide feedback for two people that have not been chosen.  The team leader will be responsible for providing one positive and one area they can work on based on the results of the presentation.  My students already know how the Nearpod presentations work, so I will use a few days to teach them how to run the presentation.  I will review the presentation's results, and I will use these results to guide my instruction for the next day.

Here is an example of some of the slides that the students will see for the first lesson:

These slides were created in Microsoft Publisher, and then I snipped the document and saved them as pictures.

The slide above is a video from Show Me.  I recorded the video on my iPad.  Then, I went to on my computer and downloaded the video.  I then inserted the video to my Nearpod presentation.

The first slide above is part of a quiz.  After they take the quiz, I (or the student leader) can share their results.  Every student is getting automatic feedback.

This is what the results look like from my iPad as I (or the student leader) run the presentation.  I can see everyone's results at once.

Here is one of the videos I uploaded to the presentation.  

I will begin teaching this group how to be a team leader this week, so it is going to be another week or so before I get this up and running, but I will let everyone know how it goes!!  Wish us luck!

**Unfortunately, I am only a Silver Member of Nearpod, so I don't have a way to save my presentations.  Our school is looking into getting a school account.  Then, I will be able to share my presentations with other Nearpod Gold Members.  If not, I have an AWESOME parent who volunteered to purchase a Gold membership for me!!  I know, I know. . . I am one lucky girl! :)

Flipped Classroom in 2nd grade . . . total SUCCESS!!  The kids LOVED it!  I wish I would have recorded their faces as they were working through the presentations.  Their smiles were priceless!!

1. Instead of having the student leader give feedback, I am going to have the group come together and discuss what they learned.  They will have questions to guide them.  Hopefully this will help them learn from each other as much as they learned from the presentation.

2. Once they exit out of the Nearpod Student app, their work goes away on the teacher presentation.  They can log back in and their work will reappear, but that makes it difficult for me to look through the presentations at the end of the day.  Even though I can get a report of correct answers, I like to see exactly what they wrote on the "Draw It' slides.  As soon as they meet with me, I will look through the presentation with them as a quick review and to set the stage for what we will discuss. 

3.  They didn't need very much guidance on how to run the presentations.  I showed them all one time and they took off with it!

After a week of using the modified flipped classroom during my math groups, ALL the students in this group passed the Common Core assessment at the end of the week!  Not only did they pass, but they were able to show knowledge of the standards on a third grade level!!  So proud of them!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

iPad Activity: Open House Scavenger Hunt

I searched all summer for a fun Back-to-School activity. Well. . . unfortunately I couldn't find anything!! So, I have been racking my brain to come up with something exciting for Open House.  This is when my kids will find out who their teacher will be for the year, and they will also find out that we will have 30 iPads in our classroom!!  Yay! I decided to incorporate the QR scans and create an Open House Scavenger Hunt to give the parents and kids the information needed to begin the new school year.  As the students arrived, there was an iPad and the first page of the scavenger hunt on their desk.  They were instructed to work through the scavenger hunt with the help of their parents.  Here is what I created:

  • I created the template in Microsoft Publisher.  
  • The "Just for you" QR scan was created on QR Voice (thanks to the Daring Librarian).  If you use the i-nigma app to scan the codes, it talks to you!!  I personalized these codes for each child.  They say, for example, "Welcome to second grade. Johnny, I am so excited to have you in our class."  Download the app and scan it right off the computer!! 
  • The "Shh! Don't tell" QR scan was created by a QR code generator. When they scan this code, they will learn a secret about me.  During one of our Back-to-School activities, they will be able to use this secret.
  • The scan at the bottom begins the hunt around the room where they will find important information to start the year.

  • They will find this clue on a table in the room after figuring out the clue on the first page.  
  • When they scan the QR scan at the top, it takes them to our classroom blog where they will find our supply list.
  • When they continue their hunt they will get a clue for the next stop.

  • They will find this clue on a different table after figuring out the clue from the previous spot.
  • When they scan the QR scan at the top, it asks them to check out the binder on the table.  That way they can set up their binders before the first day of school.  This is a huge time saver for me!!
  • The bottom scan gives the next clue.

  • They will find this clue at the computer table after figuring out the clue from the previous spot.
  • When they scan the QR scan at the top, it gives them my Wish List.
This activity was a huge success this year!!  The kids had a great time using the iPads.  Here is a student finishing up the scavenger hunt with her dad.

Next year, I will change a few things.  The information provided was VERY boring for my class (other than the fact about me).  Next year I will use this to engage the kids more.  I think I will have a place for the parents to go to get the necessary information and let the kids do the scavenger hunt on their own, which is what happened this year with most of the students.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

News Report in iMovie

Our 6th grade pilot class worked in small groups to create a news broadcasts about the earthquakes and tsunami in Japan. Students use iPads for the entire project... including research, typing the script into a teleprompter app, filming, and editing in iMovie. You can view one of the finished products below.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

How We Got Here

Our iPad pilot teachers and I are using this blog to allow you to have a glimpse into our 1:1 iPad pilot classrooms. We've shared practical posts, describing specific teaching and learning experiences as well as what we're learning along the way. This post will take you back to the beginning of our iPad pilot journey and share the details of our implementation. If you're interested in rolling out a technology initiative, involving iPads or any other tools, I believe this post can be useful for you. We are learning together throughout this journey and have collaborated with many educators along the way. We would be more than happy to talk with you about your own journey and would welcome your feedback about ours. Please feel free to leave a comment if you'd like to get in touch with us.

Timeline of iPad Pilot Implementation
  • Applications accepted in spring 2011
    • The application process was open to all teachers throughout the district. Interested teachers were required to submit an application describing how they would use iPads to enhance learning in their classrooms. The technology department as well as the Superintendent and Associate Superintendent reviewed all submitted applications. Our goal was to select one elementary, one middle, and one high school classroom to serve as our pilot classrooms for the 2011-12 school year.
  • Teachers selected at end of 2010-11 school year
    • One elementary and one middle school teacher were selected, as well as a three-teacher high school team who submitted a collaborative application. Selected teachers were asked to commit to serving as model teachers for the district, participating in ongoing professional development, and sharing our journey with others.
  • Initial meeting with teachers June 2011
    • Pilot teachers were given an iPad in order to be able to explore and plan over summer vacation. At this initial meeting, I led an iPad crash course and shared useful apps. Teachers shared apps they had discovered as well. We created and shared a wiki for the pilot group to use to share resources throughout the pilot program.
  • Blog created summer 2011
  • Monthly meetings / trainings fall 2011
    • At the start of the 2011-12 school year, our pilot group met to share what we discovered and planned over the summer. Teachers and I shared and modeled several programs apps, including Socrative and Edmodo. Throughout the fall semester, we continued to meet as a group, share with one another, and post resources to the wiki while we awaited approval to submit the purchase order.
  • iPads ordered November 2011
    • In November, we placed the order for 3 iPad carts, each containing 25 iPads and a Macbook.
  • Full day professional development November 16, 2011
    • As soon as the iPads arrived, we arranged for our pilot teachers to have substitute teachers for a day and participate in a one-day professional development work session. We discussed policies and logistics for managing the carts and purchasing apps. We brainstormed a list of apps that needed to be on all iPads as well as lists for content- and grade-specific apps. I conducted additional training on several apps, and we spent most of the afternoon engaged in collaborative planning.
  • iPads in classrooms November 17, 2011
What We've Learned Along the Way

  • Have a vision for teaching and learning
  • Plan ahead
  • Be flexible and make changes as needed
  • Be strategic in placing devices in classrooms
  • Equip teachers
  • Prepare students
  • Develop consistent procedures and policies
  • Put the cart before the horse
  • Get caught up with the hype
  • Focus only on the technology
  • Go school- or district-wide at first
  • Forget about next year - sustainability
To see what our teachers and students have been up to since November 17th, read our posts below. You might be interested in what we've been doing with Edmodo, Socrative, Bloom's taxonomy and Poll Everywhere, Twitter, and Google Earth. We welcome your comments about our pilot. We'd love to hear from you.

Monday, January 30, 2012

brief thoughts on ipads

As you may or may not know by now, our district has an ipad pilot program going on and my classroom (as well as several others) is a part of this program. The district began this pilot by asking teachers to apply for a classroom set of ipads. Several teachers at our school decided to apply together and we were chosen as one of three classrooms to receive a set of ipads.
Now, after a few months of using the ipads, I feel like I might have a bit of insight into the nuts and bolts of ipads in the classroom. So here are a quick few thoughts on the good, the bad, and the ugly of using ipads in a high school social studies classroom.

We'll go in reverse order to end on a high note.

The Ugly:
Ever had one of those days where nothing goes right? If you are planning on using ipads in the classroom then prepare for several of those days early on. There will just be times where the technology doesn't work the way that you think it is going to work.
We had days where only half of the ipads would connect to our school wifi. We had days where the students had entered less than desirable "phrases" into auto-correct. We had days where students had deleted the apps that we were planning on using. We've had days. Boy, have we. But now, we have solved most of those problems and those days happen a lot less often. We still have problems here and there but it isn't as ugly as it once was and we are still learning and tweaking what we are doing. The point is, we're learning along with the students and although we had some ugly days, we worked through them and now things are running much more smoothly.

The Bad:
Ipads require a lot of upfront time and planning. Really, all lessons require planning and thought whether or not you are using ipads or books or paper and pencil. The thing that makes the ipads stand-out as really useful and cool for education is the amount of apps available. Of course, if you are going to use these apps, they have to be loaded on the ipads. Sometimes they have to be PURCHASED. This takes time. The district has done a great job of streamlining this process but it still takes a few days. So, if I want to use a PAID app next week in one of my classes, I've got to know that a week ahead of time and I have to plan accordingly.
If I want to use a free app, I still need to give myself time to load the app on the ipads. This usually takes me a little time and can't be a last minute thing. One of my colleagues just came in here with an idea and looked at the ipads to see if they had an app he could use tomorrow. They didn't. Neither of us has time in our schedule today to spend loading new apps. So he'll have to come up with another idea or wait until tomorrow when I have a planning period or he has lab time to look for an app and to download it and sync it to all the ipads.
Another time suck as far as the ipads go is actually finding and testing the apps. You have to spend some time looking at apps, reviewing apps, and playing around with them to see if they do what you want them to do. Some of this is fun. Some of it is not. It is all time consuming. It helps to find people you trust and ask them what they are using. For instance, there are all kinds of mind-mapping apps. Which one should I use. Which one has the most functionality? Should I pay for one or is there a free one that works? All of these questions have to be answered before you load the app on the ipad.

The Good:
Instant Engagement. As soon as students touch the ipad, they are engaged. We did an oregon trail lesson and students didn't want to leave when the period was over. They begged to keep playing. They have never begged me to keep lecturing.
A variety of tools. This is an instance where the ipad is like a swiss army knife. There are so many different apps that are available. Want to take an easy survey? There's an app for that. Want students to look at maps of the world? There's an app for that. Want students to read a text and make their own flash cards? You guessed it. There's an app for that. There's an app for almost everything and students LIKE using these apps. The ipad is, without a doubt, a game changer.
Couple that with movies, books, presentations, etc... that students can view on the ipad and it quickly becomes apparent that this little tablet device is going to make the classroom of the future the classroom of the present pretty quickly.

Let me know what you think.

links are to our district ipad pilot page and to my colleague geoff crosson's blog where he is also talking about ipad lessons and other related educational type things. there is also a link to my blog where this post originally appeared.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Somewhere out there!

Students are currently utilizing the features and apps on the IPAD to explore the workings of the solar system. Students have started learning about the phases of the moon and the impact the moon has on the Earth. Students are enjoying the personal feel and ability to study the moon up close in the comfort of the classroom. Students have been able to track the moon as well as look up what phase the moon was in the day they were born. Students have also set-up visual displays of both solar and lunar eclipses through the Moon Globe app.

In addition to studying the moon, students are exploring the Apollo program and the contributions NASA has given to mankind. Students are using the QR code app. to participate in a scavenger hunt that allows them to explore and discover new facts about the program in a way that is engaging and hands on.

As a science teacher, I am enjoying the excitement that is expressed by students when they are able to see objects, like the moon, close up in details. The solar system has always captivated peoples interest and the IPADs are continuing that tradition in a creative and personal way.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Keeping it All Together with Edmodo

Our iPad pilot classrooms are using Edmodo as a tool to organize and support teaching and learning. In the 5th grade pilot classroom, students are expected to check Edmodo to find information about their assignments. Other days, they sign in to Edmodo to take a quiz, submit an assignment, or respond to discussion questions. Before our iPad carts arrived, the 5th graders spent a good amount of time working in Edmodo so they would be able to use it seamlessly once the iPads were in place. Since Edmodo has not only an app but also a web-based version, students were able to sign in on their classroom computers and in the computer lab. The web-based version is identical to the app, so students have no trouble moving between the two.

There are numerous reasons why Edmodo is a great fit for our iPad pilot classrooms and for other teachers who are wanting to integrate technology into their teaching and learning. Edmodo provides a way for students to interact with content, their teacher, and each other in a safe online environment. The Assignment feature allows teachers to easily track which students have submitted an assignment, give immediate feedback on student work, grade assignments, and share grades with students and parents. The Edmodo Library helps teachers organize just about any kind of learning resource (documents, links, images, videos) for students and parents to access. When students sign in to Edmodo, they can see if they have any notifications, which might alert them that they have an upcoming assignment, they have received a grade for an assignment, or they have a comment from the teacher. 

Why we love Edmodo:

5th grade teacher Brooke Simpson: "Edmodo provides a great place for me to put all my "stuff" in one place.  I love being able to set up groups for literature circle groups.  My students are really enjoying being able to reply to each other's thoughts.  I am excited to utilize more of the features of Edmodo.  It is also very motivating to the students, they love to check out the wall and see if anything new has been posted."  

5th grade student: "If you post something on the wall, I like how they can respond and encourage your thinking."

5th grade student: "I like being able to make different groups for books and stuff."

5th grade student: "I like being able to take tests on Edmodo."

I've posted several images below so you can see how our 5th grade pilot teacher and students are using Edmodo. We would love for you to leave comments about ways you're using Edmodo. 

Student notifications


 Assignment Instructions

Discussion Question

Student Response


Progress Monitoring