At my campus, this is our second year to be a 1:1 digital campus. The first year was extremely challenging, but also incredibly exciting. Never in my wildest dreams did I think putting an iPad in every child's hand would transform learning quite as much as it did at our campus. We have been VERY pleasantly surprised. I now have such a passion for integrating technology because I see how much more engaged students are in their learning. They want to create, innovate and solve problems. As I hear more and more schools going 1:1, I feel the need to share what I've learned so far. I'm hoping this saves teachers time, money and gives them more time to spend with their families.
1. Have a plan for downloading apps.
Don't let your students search the App Store. Students can easily misspell an app they are looking for and end up seeing highly inappropriate things.
- The ONLY app you will need to add on all student iPads yourself is QR Reader by Scan.
- Use QR Codes to download apps. Create Google Slides with QR Codes linked to apps that you want students to download. If you have the Google Shortener Chrome Extension, you can easily make QR Codes. Right click on the QR Code, click copy image and paste it right into Google Slides. Easy peasy!
- Create a Smore with all of the apps you will be using. Below is a Smore I created for the beginning of the year:
- You still want to share this with your students via QR code. However, this is NOT an app. Students will need to add this website to their homescreen. Anytime we download a new app, I tell my students to go to their, "Top 70 Apps," Smore.
- Another GREAT advantage to having iPads in the classroom is that you can use it as a reward and take it away as a consequence. Often if a student is misbehaving, I ask him/her to put the iPad away. This usually stops the misbehavior immediately. Later if the child's behavior improves, I give him/her another chance to use the device properly.
- I can't tell you how many times I tried giving directions while their little faces are staring at their iPad screens. They just don't listen quite the same. Always have students close/lock iPad screens, while you give directions. If you always have this expectation, students will listen and you won't end up having to give directions 4, 5 or 6 times in a row. If you see a student open his/her iPad while you are giving directions, TAKE IT AWAY! This sets the stage for the rest of the class. They need to know you mean what you say.
Google Classroom is a great tool for grades 3-12. You can post announcements, assignments and links to websites. Students can easily turn in work and ask questions via comments. You can also give feedback.
- Below is what Seesaw looks like. My students created dots for Dot Day. Then they created videos explaining what they made and how they would make their marks on the world.
When I post student work to the blog, I want all of my students to stay safe. Each student has a username or "safe name." It starts with my name Read and his/her number. Read01, Read02, Read03 etc. Even when they record videos, they don't mention their real names in the introduction. This is a great way to teach students that sharing personal information online is dangerous. We don't mention where we live, what school we go to or our names/family names. Seesaw has great Digital Citizenship Guidelines/posters online here.
You can also find Digital Citizenship lessons on Common Sense Media.
I hope this blog was helpful to you. Please leave me comments below if you have any suggestions or questions. In next week's blog, we'll take a look at App Smashing for Beginners.