Thursday, May 20, 2010

Reflection - iPad

In a previous post I explained my next steps with the iPad:

Next steps:
* Organise the Apps on the screens so they are easy for the students to access the right App for the right task e.g. Sound recording Apps, Writing Apps etc.
* Investigate more Apps and to source Apps that are the best for the learning area.
* Investigate more Apps that allow the gaming aspect to be integrated into quality learning.
* Continue having the students use it in each of the curriculum areas.
* Develop more areas for the collaboration to occur e.g. utilising collaborative tools like scribblar etc where the students can write/brainstorm/share ideas.

The first step that I wanted to undertake was the most logical next step in the students being able to easily navigate through the pages to find Apps. So I spent some time collating the Apps into certain pages - Maths, Reading, Writing/Utilities, Music/Art, Website, Games etc etc This has been really effective in the students being able to find and identify the Apps that they most enjoy and use during the day.

We've used the iPad in a range of areas but the main areas so far are Maths, Reading, Writing and Visual Arts. The students love the maths Apps and will happily play on them in their spare time also. The Visual Arts tools are not for everybody - but have found their way into a few students favourite Apps lists. The iPad is a great tool for recording Reading and Reflections as it's so quick and easy to take it somewhere quiet to record and then sync to the web (using Evernote or iFiles).

One key area that I really wanted to develop was the collaborative aspect. The students are quite happy to have 2+ students around the iPad talking and discussing what is happening and what they should do. Unfortunately it has been hard going finding a range of different websites that allow this. Google Docs cannot be edited on the iPad - apart from spreadsheets (which is do-able but not ideal). Many of the collaborative sites like Pirate Pad, Etherpad etc do not work either. Evernote is the site we have had the most luck with but not quite what we wanted to use it for.

We had the same problem with our class delicious links. 99 percent of the websites that we have set up to use as part of our learning rotations will not work on the iPad as they are Flash based games. I've spent a fair while starting to sort through websites to find iPad compatible sites before I realised that it would be a good idea to let that one rest for a bit! This isn't a moan - but merely a reflection of how Flash based a lot of our educational sites are. As more and more people move towards smartphones such is iPhones or iTouches to view their web content it takes me back to a previous questions of how are we making our content compatible to this HUGE audience that we are missing?!

I have a great idea for Basic Facts testing utilising Google Docs that I am going to trial tomorrow - fingerscrossed for this brainwave! In small steps we are figuring out things that work for us. It's been a great journey with the kids and I've loved watching them move away from being star struck by the iPad to it being another tool in their classroom.

My next step is in another post as it's quite a big step or wondering about the set up of the iPad and how to make it work in the classroom so they are more tailored to individual students needs over those 'that the teacher decides'.

Image Courtesy of CC: PicturePurrfect685

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