The second week with iPads has ended with my students and I think everything has gone well.
I enjoyed seeing the absorption in tasks – everyone has their heads down and is working on task – this is great to see.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the engagement with students. What I mean by that is reaching out to me and telling me how much they’re enjoying themselves:
And their social media photos:
I’m also impressed that the iPads are not ruling the classroom. I try to go half and half, but sometimes, especially when annotating or peer editing, students are opting to use pen and paper, and others are interested in using inote for annotation, but then deciding to go the pen/paper route. Not sure if it’s the adult aspect, but we are definitely selecting the appropriate tool for the task, and not choosing tech for the task.
The activity that went very well was my New York Times lesson on plagiarism in a digital age. Even though the activity is meant for teachers as a lesson plan, I thought it would be beneficial for the students to address the text from the perspective of: who is the intended audience, what is the message, who are the authors, and why did they write this. It’s a task we do with all our reading texts. After the activity, many commented on the fact that they enjoyed seeing how lesson plans are developed for teachers and how teachers approach topics for classroom content. I want to devote tomorrow’s blog post to the whole activity.
The NYT plagiarism activity was a success for me as a teacher, and an even larger success for the students. I polled them informally about the process and asked them what worked/didn’t work. One interesting, recurring comment was the annoyance a group member might have toward another member because he/she didn’t do her part. “I was relying on that information, it’s not fair that it wasn’t included,” she stated. Accountability for an unassessed in-class activity, and I’m not the one making the point. I couldn’t ask for more.
Another positive comment from the students: “I didn’t think I would spend this much time reading and preparing for the next day; I know people would rely on me, and I was interested in the types of research I found.” Perhaps the technology was the reason for the motivation amongst students. I’m interested in exploring this notion more in the coming weeks.
All in all, an excellent two weeks. I am looking forward to our vocabulary apps and collaborative space in Edmodo for our next task of comparison essay writing. Tomorrow, I’ll post about the New York Times plagiarism activity.