What a busy 9 weeks it has been! We started the year with 12 lb text books then traded them in 3 1/2 weeks later for 1 lb iPads. We used pens and paper then switched to Notability, Baiboard, and Google Docs. We filled folders and binders with hole-punched handouts then stored files on Google Drive. All that said, it’s been a thrilling learning experience.
Students use Socrative to participate in a class discussion.
With our iPads, we’ve toured museums across the world and collaborated on projects. One student joined class from home via FaceTime when she was too ill to attend.
A couple of my early concerns have mostly been unfounded. I was worried the wireless infrastructure wouldn’t be able to keep up with our needs, and I’ve had very few issues there. I also wondered how the kids would do when something didn’t work the way we wanted to, and they’ve been such troopers, just rolling with it and adapting as we go. They are not afraid of trying something new, and it really makes teaching so much fun again.
I just wrapped up an AP summer institute at SMU Plano. We spent our days talking about strategies and practicing different kinds of assignments to use with our students. We read a story and participated in a modified Socratic seminar to discuss the piece. When we finished, someone asked what to do when a student refuses to participate. I shared my experience with using Twitter in the classroom and allowing students to tweet questions or responses to questions while other students were in a fishbowl. One teacher asked, “How do you know they’re not texting?” That’s when I realized how lucky I am to be in a district that encourages the use of technology. I can’t help but be surprised by how many districts still don’t do some form of BYOT.
I really haven’t had much of a summer. Between xCamp, state assessment retesting, and other random workshops and trainings, I’ve been on the go and my brain really hasn’t had a chance to rest. Because I haven’t really shut off, I was probably the first person to reply to the principal’s request for session leaders for in-service in a few weeks. I decided to offer an “Appy Hour” session to share apps that I plan to use with my students. I created a Google spreadsheet that I’ll share with others and ask them to add to the list as we go through the year (I’ll link it here when it’s a little more complete). Every app on the list is free, except one. I finally paid for Notability, and it is totally worth $1.99.
More to come next week.