Wednesday, February 15, 2012

iWalking @sandomenico!

Kali Baird, Middle School science teacher and technology facilitator, has been instrumental in the success of our 1-to-1 integrated technology program.  She recently took a walk through the classrooms during a prep period:

After a full semester of iPads in our classrooms, I decided to hit the hallways and check out the scene to see what I could see. I knew that the teachers were integrating technology and had an overall sense that things were going well but needed a clearer picture.

In Valerie Davis’ 6th grade math class, she has her iPad on a stand and is projecting the latest concept in math via iAnnotate (@iAnnotate). As she explains the steps to her students she is also writing notes. The students are either viewing the worksheet of problems or taking notes, in Noteshelf (@noteshelf), on their iPads. The feeling in her classroom is uncomplicated. In other words, the ease with which the students use their iPad as a math tool is impressive.

As I walk in to Rob Shashoua’s 7th Spanish class, he informs me that they are just wrapping up their iPad use for the period. Too late for me. But wait! He gets excited and switches gears in class. He asks the students to go to the app store and download the new app, Rover, which allows access to sites that use Flash to be played on the iPad (@theroverapp). The Spanish textbook is aligned with the website which has several interactive features that use Flash to re-enforce learning and vocabulary. It took the students literally under five minutes to get the app downloaded and onto the chapter that they are studying.

Entering Wynn Richard’s 6th grade history class, all is silent! The students have their iPads docked on external keyboards and are typing their Ancient India stories. I ask the students about this project. They first did research and note taking on their iPads to gather information and images which would help them write detailed stories from the perspective of a selected caste. Part of this activity involved viewing maps of the different regions and photos of different caste members, and using Google Earth to really see the geography of the area. The goal of this project is to combine the students’ final stories into an eBook to be shared with the whole class. Exciting!

As I walk back to my classroom, I am thinking about what I have seen and also how many tours we have recently hosted. When a tour comes through, we really want them to be able to see what it is that makes San Domenico such a high quality school. On the Middle School tour, parents walk into my classroom to hear a bit about our foray into technology integration. I realize at that moment that our “everyday technology attire” is so amazing that it is like our “Sunday best!”

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