Wish I could go to the WISE conference in Doha this year, but it’s a little far away and there’s way too much going on this time of year. However, it’ll be nice to follow some of the speakers online and hear what they have to say. WISE stands for World Innovation Summit for Education.
Well, I’ve finally found something to use my twitter account for. I’ve signed up to follow this conference and hopefully, I will continue to find new ways to use the technology in a productive way. There are probably a few teacher blogs I should follow too, but I’m not always an early adopter with the gadgets (ok – usually by generation 2.o I’m in).
It takes a lot of scholastic points to get an ipad, but I’ve been saving up for almost 10 years now, and I got one yesterday for my classroom. Using it today, it was amazing to see the kids take to it like fish to water. It took me less than a minute to teach kids how to operate an app that had them solving spatial pentomino puzzles collaboratively in a group of 3. Swiping and dragging, clicking, and double clicking seemed so natural. It makes for a great learning center. I also had a few of the winter songs for our production loaded on it, some spelling, and math fact games, a dictionary, a wikipedia app, I downloaded a few e-books for free, and was quite pleasantly surprised at how willing they were to share the device. I have a few hand-me-down desktops that have been in my classroom since the beginning of the year, but only one or two kids had every asked to use them. More than half the class seemed very interested in using the ipad today. It’s too bad I can’t get more. Here’s a story today about ipads in a kindergarten class.
There was a lot of filming going on in our school today and I was asked with little warning to teach a quick lesson using the new media lab which is full of desktops. They didn’t have any footage of kids in the lab. I haven’t really had the chance to use the lab yet, so the children hadn’t been taught how to sign in etc. Setting it up for all the kids, getting the computers all doing what you want them to do and then teaching can be quite a bit cumbersome. Even if it was a 10 minute lesson, there was no way I wasn’t going to try and make it meaningful for the kids, connect it to current curriculum, and ensure they were learning some useful skill. While the children were completely engaged in their assignment, I did not witness the same heightened engagement as those three kids on the ipad later in the afternoon. I think it was a good investment of my points, but now to find content that is meaningful and contributes to their learning – otherwise it’s just a toy.