Friday, November 18, 2011

The iPads Arrive

 I have taught middle school my entire career, in the same school, in the same room, but with lots of changes. The technology I have available has evolved from an overhead projector and a boom box when I first started teaching to a cart of computers, iPod devices, various peripherals/equipment, and my newest addition, iPads!

After much anticipation, the box arrived last Wednesday. There were 10 iPads with 3 more on the way. This isn't an ideal 1:1, in fact it is technically a .25:1. I started my first COW (Computers on Wheels Cart) with just 9 computers, and now I have 29. I am pretty sure the iPads will multiply too!

Anyway, back to the story. The box of iPads arrived on Wednesday. After a brief “official district training,” my teaching partner and I were left to figure out what to do with them. I purchased my own iPad 2 last May and have been furiously downloading apps, reading websites and blogs, and contemplating how I would use the new iPad mini lab to teach the curriculum. Now that they were in my possession, my mind went blank. I sort of panicked. In an old plastic box, on my classroom floor, was a tool that could transform teaching and learning, revolutionize the way we do business, and now... I was expected to do it!

(Deep sigh) What do teachers do when they don't think they have the knowledge they need? They Google it! I had some great sites already bookmarked on my Diigo, but I felt like what I really needed to see was real teachers authoring blogs or websites about how iPads were used in their classrooms. I wanted examples of cutting edge, active engagement and not just using an iPad as an extension of what students can already do with a pencil and paper. I wanted to hear what the teachers had to say about the everyday realities of using the iPad!

Unless I was using the wrong search techniques, there just wasn't a lot out there written by the classroom teacher. I have read extensively about why to use iPads in the classroom, how an iPad works, apps for iPads, and how to deploy multiple iPads, but what I really was looking for was the voice of the teacher. The people “in the trenches” who seamlessly integrate the iPad into their every day lessons. That is when I realized the iPad, which has been in stores since March of 2010 is only a little more than a year and a half old. This little black device that has entwined itself into my personal life and that of my own children, is just an infant in the realm of technology use in the classroom!

The following teacher created links are the ones I found helpful in building my confidence that I too could transcend the boundaries of teaching and learning as I know it. 

That's all I found for every day “teacher stuff.” In a later post, I will share all of my favorite sites that review apps. For today, I have what I need to get going on my own classroom innovations! I am by no means an expert. “I am just a 7th grade teacher.” That being said, I figured my learning curve would be steep this year, and we might just learn something together. 

Innovation In A Box