iPad Conversations by Margie Brown

Recently I had the opportunity to have small group iPad Conversations at one of the elementary schools I serve.  Teachers received their iPads in October, well before the student iPad cart became available; in order to get familiar with iPads and to begin to see productivity and integration uses for them, Then an iPad mobile lab was ready for check out in January. By now, I thought that enough time had passed to be able to get some early ideas on the successes and challenges of the teacher iPads and the student iPad cart.

The conversations were all very educational and enlightening; and I am excited to share some ideas and a wish list that came out of it.

Ideas for the 1 iPad classroom:

For students in small groups or individually, take turns with:

Spell board: an app that costs $4.99, teachers can record spelling lists in their own voice, students can write the words, have them checked, lists can be shared with other teachers, multiple profiles can be kept on one iPad, there is a word search puzzle for the list.

Built in Camera: students can videotape themselves reading, using the video feature of the camera, for fluency development and reinforcement, as well as for teachers to watch later for monitoring purposes

Word Meaning and Vocabulary Development: in guided reading groups, students can quickly look up the meaning of a word.

Alphabet Magnets: an app that costs $1.99, as the students build words the sound of the letter is pronounced, and blended to form the words. Teachers use this one on with students for phonics work, and students practice in pairs.

iReading apps, other story apps, free books that can be downloaded through iBooks: students enjoy listening to stories, many of which have the words highlighted as they are read.

Connect the iPad to the projector: using the dongle or a Belkin KVM switch, play group games, review facts, vocabulary, spelling, or content using a variety of apps, with the whole class.

Ideas for 1-1 classroom iPad use

Here are some activities teachers and students have engaged in when the cart was checked out and each student had an iPad.

Doodle Buddy and Real Chalk: use as whiteboards,  much cleaner and no smelly markers.

Working on the lower end of Bloom’s: sometimes students just need to have activities that promote remembering and understanding. Use any of the creativity and productivity apps for retelling, listing, describing, naming, classifying, comparing, and explaining. Here are some that we have: Poplet, Lino, ABC Notes, Animoto, ToonTastic, ComicLife, Puppet Pals HD, and Sock Puppets

Screen Chomp: students work in pairs to record the steps they used in solving a math problem, their partner starts the recording and follows  these steps to see if they work.

Garage Band: students use garage band to create songs and music to retell or teach content.

iMovie: Students created novel trailers in iMovie, then shared by connecting to the projector

Built in Camera: Students took still and video images of geometrical shapes in nature an put them into an iMovie. These were shared by a gallery walk, and projected for the whole class.

The Wish List:

  • more iPads , at least one cart per grade level
  • KVM switches in every room so it will be easy to project iPads on the screen
  • a way to make apps on the iPad interactive on our Smartboards when they are projected.
  • when Kindergarten and First Grade teachers are passing the class iPad to students, they would like a way to “lock” the pages, so the student stay on the page with their apps and don’t swipe over to the pages with the teacher’s apps on them.
  • more time to learn about new ways to teach and integrate this wonderful tool
  • some way for students to work with the flash digital tools that are a part of their math and reading curriculum.

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