Students in Grade 8-11 have had the iPad experience enriching their learning for the past 14 weeks.
Primary uses observed.
1. Collecting data- taking photos of school events, recording notes, and organizing and prioritizing workloads.
2. Web based research- at your finger tips answers.
3. Dropbox and Edmodo are included in most every teacher’s workflow.
Since August, students have been guided to preserve bandwidth by turning of notifications, and by limiting their access to YouTube and Downloading of Apps. CIS has recently doubled its bandwidth capacity, so we look forward to speedier connections and greater use of Socrative, Nearpod, and subject specific apps.
To filter, To not filter, how much to filter…..
This is the daily question at CIS! Preserving bandwidth is important. Keeping kids safe is important. Using all of the learning experiences of the Internet is important. How much are you Filtering at your school? Which filter do you think is best? Why?
Finally we have 185 students and 40 teachers learning with iPads in our school’s first one to one learning endeavor. The year long planning process was over three weeks ago. The last student got his iPad on Friday, three weeks late, but every student in grade 8-11 has an iPad to enhance their learning experience.
Are the students happy? YES!
Are the teachers happy? YES!
Teaching has been transformed. Teachers are moving around the classroom. Students are regularly taking photos of schedules, notes, or of each other. Most are using Edmodo, Dropbox, and email to transfer and share information. Socrative has become a popular app, as has Poplet, Pages, iMovie, and Keynote.
Paper is being used less…. Creativity in teaching and in recording the learning process is increased….
Balance is being sought, as we install filters to slow gaming and to preserve bandwidth. Balance is sought by teachers not wanting the tech to deter from the curricular objectives. Balance for our tech team, that has increased its workload phenomenally without increases in manpower. Balance for print or post.
Three weeks have passed. Engaged, and a little frustrated as we are maxing out our bandwidth most of the time…..but we (sort of) knew this might happen…… Next….more bandwidth, please…
This year at CIS, we have spent almost 20 hours engaging in the practice of using our iPads.
How have we done?
With 35 teachers attending various sessions, more and more teachers are truly engaged, excited, and ready for the total iPad experience that will engage our students in August.
What PD ideas have worked?
- Apple iPad training on specific apps- like Keynote, Pages, and iMovie worked really well. All got to practice. All could see application of these apps into their teaching environment.
- APD Training: Oscar Stringer, APD consultant, visited our school for an entire day of Q and A. This worked. An educator with “real experience” was exactly what our teachers needed. The teachers asked questions, cleared doubts, and asked for app advice. Oscar was clear, direct, and extremely knowledgeable. The teachers’ appreciated his insight. To me as the iPad enthusiast onsite, I enjoyed seeing Oscar in this leadership role. He uncovered and discussed ideas that I never would have thought of. His style was refreshing and beyond the beginner level. Most CIS teachers were ready for this.
- So far teachers have enjoyed PD that deeply looks at an app or tool, rather than general discussions. Optional and Volunteer Tech Talks are quite successful with low pressure on teachers. Those that attend pass on the learning, when they chat with their peers about their struggles and their successes. During these tech talks, we have discussed Wikispaces,Edmodo, Socrative, Dropbox, Voicethread, and Annotateneu.
- Private discussions about particular subject areas and with “new” teachers has been vital to the PD process, as sometimes individual attention with quality chat and brainstorming is necessary.
- We started using WebDAV with a Mac mini server this week. This time, all teachers were asked to follow a keynote or pdf of instructions to help them set-up their WebDAV folder. They were not allowed to go to see our Technology Director. And guess what, they were all successful. Now with WebDAV, file transfer is so fast and sharing was so easy. All were impressed. After giving everone a week to install the folders and get them working, we met and spent 45 minutes sharing and exploring ways to move files, pics, movies, and pdfs. Moving in and out of our shared and private folders on the WebDav was useful and practical for all. This will be great as we start creating content for the new school year. Students will use the WebDAV next year too. A great way to submit work.
Unfortunately, discussions about pedagogy and one to one learning have been less engaging, as most at CIS are focused on the “how” rather that the “why” right now. CIS teachers know that going one to one is good. That it is the future of education. CIS teachers are being pushed to think about the “why”, but this seems a longer process and perhaps one that will move forward more once the students have their iPads too.
Do we need to focus on “why” too? What do you think?
Here is a site that I have created to use with parents and staff, as we move closer to our One to One learning implementation in August 2012.
Tomorrow, we will start off with Socrative and move through a 3 hour lesson complete with transitions, rubrics, and true planning.
Acceptable Use discussions will be initiated.
The landscape of classrooms and teaching methodology is being changed at CIS.
Do you have any suggestions for us, as we move forward? I would love to hear from you.