Thing 15: iPads and Apps in the Library

I am fortunate to have a set of 30 iPads available in the library. Although they are for the whole school, I have the advantage of storing them and hence first dibs to them. That said, I haven’t found a project that I could successfully use them with one of my fixed classes.

An app that I would like to use with my class is Socrative (which is also web-based). This app/website can be used like the SmartBoard Student Response System where students use a clicker to answer a question. I have a set of these in the library but getting students ready to use the clickers would take more time than I have each week. The beauty of Socrative is that the students only need to enter a number to be ready to start whatever activity is planned — quick and simple. Socrative allows teachers to create different types of “quizzes” which can be used to monitor student understanding, used as an exit-ticket, used to determine prior knowledge, or anything else you would like to test. I think any student could be taught how to use this app.

After attending a session on gaming at AASL, I recently purchased a game called Once Upon a Time. I recently used this game with my 6th grade students and they loved it. I had the students form groups of 2-3 and then handed them one of each of the different category cards. I instructed them to form a story using these cards; the story needed to make sense and could include information to help fill out the story. I only gave them ten minutes to write their story and then each group presented to the class. This addressed multiple standards including collaboration and public speaking. Although the stories weren’t perfect, especially when the students tried to make the story fit the cards, overall the students cooperated well and the stories were funny. I would like to use the iPads to have the students type and illustrate their stories and then publish them in iBooks using the My Story – Book Maker for Kids app. The students love writing these stories especially since the curriculum doesn’t really allow them to write creative stories anymore.

While perusing the various resources provided, this graphic really struck me. Too often teachers, myself included, focus on the technology and not why or how we are using the technology. I must keep in mind that technology is only the tool and not the reason.

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