I am fortunate that the district I work for has seen the need for technology integration in education. I believe we are front runners. We do not wait for others…when something is out there that will benefit our students we jump at the opportunity to give it a try. One big example of that are the iPads. All campuses have iPads. The number varies by available funds and, of course, some administrators jumped in feet first while others tip-toed in to test the water. This accounts for a varying student:iPad ratio. In any case, along with district checkout options, all teachers in the district have access to devices if/when they are needed.
What tends to draw teachers to the devices are all the apps available to them to serve as a “tutor”. We know it is impossible to get a 1:1 teacher:student feel. These devices can help with remediation and practice in a more engaging way. Let’s face it though…drill and kill is drill and kill whether it is being done on an iPad or a sheet of paper. I am not saying iPads cannot be used for this, but this should not be the ONLY reason they are being used.
Get your students creating! There are many wonderful, free apps out there that allow them to be creative while still showing you what they know. It gets them to dig deeper into a concept. It allows for an even better understanding of what you are teaching them. They can become the tutors as well.
I have had an opportunity over the last few years to go into rooms of varying ages and abilities to work on project creation. It never ceases to amaze me how engaged the students are when they are creating. It is also quite incredible to view some of their finished products. All you need to do is take a look at their finished pieces to see that they haven’t just memorized something that they will soon forget. They have truly learned it…grasped the understanding of a concept and taken it even further. Create…create…create!
If you are looking for some fun apps to get you started, Tellagami, Chatterpix for Kids, and 30 Hands are some great choices! Do a search for any of those on my blog to learn more about them.