Saturday, April 5, 2014

What have iPads done to my room?!...Come Take A Look

My classroom has had 1:1 iPads since December of 2012.  The iPads have brought a dramatic change to the way I teach my students and the way my students learn.  When I tell community members, teachers, district administration, college professors, board members, etc. that I have 1:1 iPads in my classroom, I often get a smile and a "wow, that's really nice" but in my mind I'm shouting "YOU have NO idea!"  When I start to explain some of the things my students are doing in my room with the iPads, blank stares or fake smiles appear on most faces because they just don't understand what the iPads are doing for education.  I then invite them to come into my classroom and observe, but NO ONE comes.

iPads in my classroom are raising some eyebrows.  I've been questioned on how I'm teaching and if my students are learning, concerns that the time on the iPad takes away from peer interactions, questions about how I grade all of my students' work and if I'm teaching all of the curriculum, and now budget cuts preventing the possibility of more iPads in other classrooms.  Which send me the message that you really don't care what's going on in my classroom.

My response....come spend some time in my classroom and you will see how our classroom works. Your doubts will be erased and you'll have the desire to change teachers' pedagogy like I do and want to create learners that are exploring and creating not sitting at their desks listening to a teacher lecture and filling out worksheets.

Jenna's PicCollage about Vitamin C
In my classroom, my students are collaborating together on projects, proudly sharing their creativity, asking thought provoking questions, celebrating classmates successes, and mending disappointments.  I spent some time this week just watching my class.  My students were having conversations with each other and as I took the time to listen, those conversations were revolving around students' work. Through these conversations, my students are learning!

These are some of the things I observed:

Students laughing with each other about funny images in the collages they created with the PicCollage App and discussing why they chose to use those particular images to represent their learning in Health.

Students solving Stick Around puzzles their classmates created to help them review their reading story for the week, spelling words, or math skills.

Students complimenting another student on the iMovie she created about our Mystery Hangout and asking her how they can add those special effect to their iMovies.
Madison's iMovie                                  Haylee's iMovie

Students debating and discussing which objects would be measured with which unit of measurement and why.

Alex showing what his mind is thinking in math
Students sharing about the chapter book they have been reading and what images they are going to add to their iMovie to help describe their book.

Students discussing which teams are winning in the NCAA basketball tournament and who they are going to write about in their next blog post.

Students creating math projects together that explain their thinking and show understanding of how problems are solved.

Reviewing spelling sentences together

A student asking another student to review his spelling sentences for the week to make sure the words are spelled correctly.

These are just a few of the conversations that are happening in my classroom on a daily basis.  These conversations are evidence of my students learning, creating, and building relationships.

So yes, the iPads have changed my classroom.
My students are learning by discovering, not by having me stand at the front of the room and lecture. My classroom is student focused not teacher focused.  My students are working together, collaborating and building strong peer relationships.  I'm not stuck at my desk grading piles of papers. I'm walking around talking with my students and having them share their creations with me.  Through those conversations I'm able to assess their learning.  The learning in my classroom is completely different from the school we have all known, but this change is a good thing.

So, if by chance you are a millionaire, or a superintendent, or work for congress, or a school board member, or a community member, or any other interested stakeholder, please (I'm begging) come take the time to visit my classroom and see how much iPads can change a classroom!