Wednesday, September 21, 2011
There's an article in GothamSchools today about how teachers plan to use iPads in their classrooms. I too have a DOE iPad, purchased by my school during last year's "the DOE is not going to let schools carry over their extra funding" spending spree. I honestly didn't see a use for it at first and wasn't sure how I would put it to use in the classroom. But I'm a big believer in making an effort to use all the resources provided to me -- especially ones as coveted and as expensive as the iPad -- so I started to build a library of apps that slowly but surely are making my teaching more effective. There is an app called Confer that is designed for the workshop model. For each subject, I can group my students by level or arrange them into groups of my choosing (in writing, for example, whenever I do a small group for a certain strategy, I rearrange the groups in the app). Each time I meet with a student, I can list the "tag," "strength," "teaching point" and "next steps" of our conference. The best part is that the app saves everything I enter so that I can enter it again if I find myself, say, using the same teaching point over with another student. It's also really nice for small groups so I don't have to put in the same information on four different sets of conference notes. Also, I can list my students by date, so I can see who I haven't conferences with in a while. This year I even started doing my running records on the iPad, which has taken some getting used to but which is cutting down tremendously on the amount of paper and ink I use. I open the running records from the TC website in an app called iAnnotate, which allows me to type directly into the PDF file. I use an app called TeacherPal to keep track of attendance and grades; it also has features for tracking behavior and personal information (for example, I have my students' parents' e-mail addresses in there and I can quickly send an e-mail to my class list from it). Lastly, I always have this problem where I type up my plans, print them out and then promptly misplace them before a lesson. Now I just load everything into Google Documents or Dropbox and then they're always available when I need them. I don't think I'd go out and buy an iPad if it hadn't been provided for me, but I'm lucky to have one and I'm looking forward to figuring out other ways I can make it work for me!
at 9:00 PM