Our second outing with the iPads and the Parts of the Cell project was at Garfield High School, located in the Central District of Seattle. Dawn Rubstello, an SEP lead teacher, had been kind enough to facilitate our continued exploration of making iPads a supplemental tool for science education.
We tried to switch things up from our last outing at Lakewood High School and used this lesson as an introduction to parts of the cell as opposed to a capstone. Dawn also had her students complete their research worksheets the weekend before so they were ready to jump right into constructing their presentations.
Each group was pre-constructed by Dawn. She tried to balance the students in each group by combining the studious students with students that aren’t as studious in an effort to minimize socializing and misuse of the iPads. This ended up working out splendidly as there weren’t groups off task the entire week that we were with her class. Dawn also gave each student in the group a role for them to be responsible for an aspect of the iPad. This was designed to give the students some ownership of the progress they were making with the project as well as allowing them to share use of the iPad. Each day the roles rotated allowing each student to have equal time with the iPad. The students were then graded each day on their participation during class. This worked well in keeping most students on task and helped force the more controlling group members to share the some of the workload with their other group members.
On the first day, the students were eager to get started and the vast majority of them had their homework completed when they arrived to class. Surprisingly the majority of these kids jumped right into using the iPads and utilizing all the app available. They were trying things that I hadn’t thought of and were doing it with very little outside assistance from me.
Day two the students were able to get right to work and use the whole period. Some of the groups took turns out in the hallway shooting video to add into their Keynote presentations or using it as a stand alone video they were editing with iMovie.
Day three and four were block periods, meaning we split the period in half and the first 45 minutes the students were able to finish up their presentations and the second 45 minutes were dedicated to the presentations. This worked out well and I was able to display the presentation on the iPads into the mounted projector and plugged into the PA system with the headphone jack so the videos and song(that’s right a group made a rap song with GarageBand).
The week at Garfield High School seemed more successful and refined that the week at Lakewood High. The students were more engaged and were taking bigger risks with what they were presenting. This was in big part due to the fact that they were prepared with their research before hand so they were able to just jump right in and spend their time collaborating and designing instead scouring websites for what appears to be credible and correct information.