When we started implementing iPads a few years ago, the world was our oyster. Every app was new and every use of the iPad required some learning from our teachers and students. Now that all of our students have iPads in hand for two years, app learning isn't as important as it was. It's a neat spot to be in, because most of our students are familiar and comfortable with apps. They are even able to generalize settings, buttons, and functions between apps. They are becoming excellent at trouble shooting and helping each other too.
I've been focusing a lot with classes lately in extending the application of the technology. We've been smashing apps like ChatterKids, Popplet, and SeeSaw in order to create something really unique. Teachers are really experimenting using multiple apps to accomplish a task as opposed to being restricted by the functionality of one. Yesterday I worked with a first grade class who worked through many steps, which would have been tricky not too long ago, to create a talking image about earth day. To go from start to finish with the process took 30 minutes. They were only able to do it this quickly because of their base knowledge of apps; smashing them together was the new learning.
Opening the doors for new opportunities for our students to show their learning is a really big deal. Also, using apps in different combinations enhances creative thinking and offers endless possibilities in project based learning.
Probably my favorite part of my role as a technology coach is that I am able to visit many different classrooms. I've said in the past, "I wish all teachers had an opportunity to visit the classroom of everyone else." With all of this awesome work happening all over the place, it's important to find time to share. Even though everyone can't be everywhere, teachers have been carving some time before school to meet together at what we call "Learn and Shares." These events are times when teachers can come together and share what kind of awesome things are happening for others to learn from, and to learn from others.
We mainly focus on technology work. Teachers are doing some amazing things to integrate technology into education to truly engage and lift students. One kindergarten teacher at this morning's learn and share is beginning digital journals to capture pictures, drawings, and writing about the upcoming caterpillar to butterfly unit. A third grade teacher is finding ways to use video and screen casts to explain "workplaces" and math games to kids in order to more efficiently use time and help more students learn. I was tasked with trying to find an assessment app that has the ability for a teacher to include picture answers instead of only a picture with the question.
Learning and challenging each other is what makes for more opportunities for our students. Learn and shares are a great way to have colleagues work together in a way that really leads to some great outcomes.
Instructional Technology Coach