I recently went to Ronald Bog with Connie Kelly’s Biology class to view how lessons can jump off the page and onto their new iPads. I observed that many of the students were pretty focused in terms of staying on task especially considering the amount of ‘freedom’ they were given. All of the students were engaged and interested in finishing the the task at hand.
Charged with drawing a map of the surrounding area, finding and taking a pictures of one producer and one consumer, and answering worksheet questions, the students had a lot to do in their short class period. They were given 45 minutes to walk around and gather information as well as pictures which they then wrote and placed on top of a PDF worksheet using the app Ghostwriter. The students for the most part were able to run the apps and iPads with little to no help. The first class didn’t need any help. In the second class there were a few students that had some issues with the app, but mostly related to a bug in the app.
This was a valuable experience for me because it allowed me to become more acclimated with the classroom setting(as I am new to the educational world) and I was also able help a few students with some tech related problems. It really taught me that I need to know the apps we will be using inside and out, because something will go wrong and I’ll at least know how to work around that particular problem. It will probably be a good idea to only have the apps installed on the iPads that we need for any given lesson in order to minimize complications.
I also had a good talk with Jim Golubich, the Director of Instructional Technology, as he was also there observing and helping students on most likely one of Shoreline School District’s first real iPad outings. I asked him about restriction settings and what they found to be useful and a hindrance. Most of the settings are kept on with the exception of the cameras, due to some inappropriate use they encountered. However, he seemed to think that even that would be turned back on soon. They offer both a permission slip for parental consent and an insurance plan for parents to buy. I also asked him about internet settings and issues with people pawning them off. From what I gathered the majority of the students in the Shoreline School District are pretty responsible and little problems have arisen so far in regards to kids breaking, losing, or pawning their iPads.
I’m slightly concerned that the experience I had might vary from SEP’s because each student had their own iPad so they were all quite engaged and on task as a result. In our circumstance, students will be arrange in small groups just like in Connie’s lesson but only one person at a time will be in actual physical contact with the iPad.