I thought I would share some of the things that I spoke about and some of the key points that I tried to get across in my workshop.
First, an iPad Station does not consist of handing a child an iPad, putting them on an app and letting them click away. Come on people, aren’t we past this by now? In the past, I have had colleagues come ask me if they can use the iPads in my room the following period. When I replied yes, their next question was, “What apps do you have on them?” WHAT!? Integrating technology doesn’t mean that you hand a child an iPad for a period because you have nothing planned. Using technology needs to be purposeful. It needs to be thought out, and there needs to a reason to use it.
Technology is used to give students a voice, give students choice, to give students a global audience, to make thinking visible and to allow me to assess and give feedback using voice and video. It also enables my parents to see their children’s work on a daily basis through Twitter and their personal blogs.
When I first started creating my iPad task cards, I only had 2 iPads in my classroom. I originally used them as a centre or station during my daily 5 or my math stations. I was able to put the task card along with an iPad and voila! My students were able to all have a turn using the iPad for something meaningful. All of my iPad stations stem from the Ontario Curriculum.
Now that I have a cart of iPads, I still use the iPad stations but, now many of the task cards are made for whole class activities and are step by step instructions for students to follow to complete a task.
All of my iPad stations are content creation stations. Which means, that students use their creativity and knowledge to produce something that shows their learning. Here are a few examples:
My second key point is that you only need one page of apps for your students to be successful. I too, have fallen into the free app downloading frenzy. What happens is you have so many apps for your students to use that they never get comfortable using it and then have to spend extra time learning the functions rather than concentrating on their work. If you have a handful of apps that your students can use efficiently then they are not distracted by trying out a bunch of new apps that probably aren’t as good as the ones I am going to suggest anyways.
Here are the must have apps we use in my classroom:
I like to use apps that you can use for different purposes. We use two whiteboard apps in my room. For young children or children new to the iPad, Draw and Tell is where to start. For experienced iPad users (which is most children) or children in grade 2 or higher I strongly suggest Explain Everything. If you can only buy one app for your iPads, make it EE.
Here is an example of one my iPad stations using EE:
And a student sample:
Another favourite app we use all of the time is Popplet:
We also use Pic Collage for many different applications:
Lastly, Geoboard is a great free app to use for math:
This year, I have used Padlet walls to assess work. Some of my students choose to use paper and pencil instead of the iPads to show their learning, with a quick picture of their work they can upload it to the Padlet wall and I can look at all of my students' work in one place from anywhere and see who is ready to move on or who needs to work with me the following day in a small group.