Partnering to Create Stories and a Wonderful Experience
“Here we use digital tools to create products, innovate design, collaborate with others inside and out of the classroom, and demonstrate learning.” That’s part of our Vision for Digital Learning at Pine Creek and it’s wonderful when we can see that in action.
Linda is currently partnering her ASL 3 class with a 1st and 2nd grade class from The School for the Deaf and Blind. In small groups, her students are writing stories using the app called Book Creator. When finished writing their stories, the 1st and 2nd graders will then illustrate them. The final product comes to life as the ASL students learn to sign their stories to the 1st and 2nd graders. How wonderful is that!
Her students are creating physical and signed products; they are innovating the design of their final product; they are collaborating with others inside and out of the classroom; and, they are demonstrating their learning.
There are many classroom stories to tell; too many for this medium. Share your stories with each other (and with me). Talk in the pods. Visit each other’s classrooms. There are so many amazing things being done with our students. Let’s celebrate these moments!
Using Showbie and Skype to manage missed class time
It happens to all of us - sometimes we can’t be in class. Maybe we’re ill, maybe it’s our children, maybe we’re at a conference or meeting. Luci has figured a way to keep students on track in those situations. She uses Showbie to post assignments when she’s gone. With Showbie, assignments can be uploaded from home and guest teachers need only to ask students to login and begin. Assignments can include documents, links, and images. Directions can be in written or oral form (or both). Assignments can be completed directly in Showbie or uploaded from Google Drive or the camera (video). There are so many possibilities!
Most of the time, however, it’s our students that are missing class. Linda has managed this by having students Skype into class. She had an injured student Skype in from home to watch presentations and answer follow-up questions - she didn’t miss a beat! She has also has an ill student Skype in during group work. When the students break out into groups, this student participates via Skype on the iPad. How awesome is that?!
Who knows? Maybe one day, with the use of practices such as these, we won’t have to worry about snow days and losing instructional minutes.
Ideas for your classroom
With the start of a new semester, your students may need appropriate use procedures for iPads reviewed. While at school, these are a tool for instructional purposes. Just like any tool, students need to be taught how to use it.
iPad tips and helps for the start of the semester:
1. “Screens down” – iPad not being used for the activity at hand? Tell the class “screens down.” Students place the device (iPad, tablet, phone, laptop) on the desk with the screen facing down.
2. Screens up, iPads flat on desk – Is an iPad an appropriate or acceptable device for the activity at hand? Have students place the device flat on the desk with the screens facing up. It’s easier to monitor student work that way.
3. Swipe to clear – Do you need to have a class that needs to be monitored a bit more closely? Is it an assessment day? You might want to have the students double-click the home button and swipe up to clear all apps. After they have cleared all apps, then assign the appropriate app or site to open (if using the Safari, the iBoss filter tab needs to stay open).
4. Practice procedures – It may sound elementary, but practicing procedures makes it more natural for you and your students.
5. When to remove device. If, after warning and redirection, you feel you need to take the device from the student, please remember that it may only be removed for your class period and must be returned at the end of the period. The iPad is the binder, folder, text and learning tool for other classes.
What about when it’s appropriate for students to use their devices, how do you let them know what’s OK? Many teachers use a “level” system. Levels are intended to delineate levels of appropriate use. For example:
I am a Digital Learning Coach by title, but lifelong learner by practice. An Apple Teacher, Google Certified Educator and Microsoft Innovative Educator, my goal is to assist educators in investigating, exploring, and investigating resources to embed in their instruction. I also hope to be a part of their journey toward an innovative and transformative practice that empowers learners and strengthens their own craftsmanship. I spends my free time with my family, my dogs and a good cup of coffee.