WISE, Twitter, and iPads

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.



4 thoughts on “WISE, Twitter, and iPads

  1. This post reminds me of my refrain on “techne,”– the tools we choose to use (nice rhyme) From ipad to video camera to desktop to lead pencil, it’s not the tool but the bigger lesson. In some ways, using a video to share teaching and learning is key as it proselytizes this essential question. I loved the irony of showing an ipad on an iphone to a HOS of a PC school-ha! Thanks for helping with the video effort. It was my late notice that caused the pile-up.

  2. Lucy did most of her state report in 4th grade on the iPad with a keyboard attachment. The word processing software app we bought is much more age-appropriate than Word.

    So it might be that content creation is what gives the device the most meaning. It’s not that you need an app that connects to the curriculum as much as one that helps kids put what they’re learning together in interesting ways.

    • Martha, thanks for putting this on here. I couldn’t agree with you more that there are much more kid friendly word processing apps out there that are more appropriate for kids. Unfortunately, I feel the school doesn’t seem to always get it in terms of tech. Some of the short sightedness regarding technology is a bit of a sore subject with me. I also agree with you that content creation is so important and we need to include those in the repertoire of software.

      Being married to a tech engineer (and having friends work for Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Juniper Networks, among other tech and gaming companies) makes me feel like a luddite when it comes to tech, yet it seems like I’m called upon to present to other teachers how to use technology might be used in the classroom. What do I know? I’m just trying and playing like the kids do. They aren’t technophobes, why should their teachers be?

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