Day 5 with iPads

As iPad coach in our Bellevue Public Schools #ipadacademy we are often asked the question, “How do you get people started with the iPads in their classrooms?” What sets our model apart from others, all of our teachers with 1:1 iPads have been through 40 hours of Apple Foundations training before they receive the devices. Then, upon receiving the devices, they also have an iPad coach to work with as they implement teaching in a blended learning environment.

Research shows that when teachers have between 31-50 hours of professional development, they are ready to start adapting the curriculum with technology (Garet et al. 2001). The solid foundation in the Apple ecosystem, accompanied by shadowing in classrooms with similar content area or grade level, and having ongoing classroom support with an iPad coach allows for a new culture of teaching and learning to emerge.  

This post is an interview with Terry Sorensen, middle school math teacher, who is in his 5th day of having iPads in the classroom at Mission Middle School.

As Sorensen started his 1:1 classroom, he spent a class period observing colleagues at Central Elementary and Bellevue East before he started integration in his classroom. He observed Meagan Cinfel, 1st grade teacher at Central Elementary and Tina Holbrook, Kendra Wisenhunt, and Chelsea Hoglund, math and special education teachers,  at Bellevue East with the blended learning in full swing. Blended learning, as defined by the the Clayton Christensen Institute, is “a formal education program in which a student learns:

  1. at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace;
  2. at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home;
  3. and the modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.”

Sorensen observed blended learning, the in-class flip model, in all of these classrooms. “I talked with teachers, gathered ideas and it gave me a good starting point,” Sorensen said. “The chance to observe, ask questions and see what they do was invaluable.”

As Sorensen began his journey with his students last week, he felt supported and ready to begin.“The district has put the time and effort into making sure I have the hardware (iPads, projector with HDMI, and Apple TV) and they invest in my teaching skills. This shows a serious commitment on the part of Bellevue Public Schools to improve the education for their students. Bellevue has done this iPad Academy right,” Sorensen said. “I have had 40 hours of training even before I got the iPads and then there’s the gift of Ann, the gift that keeps on giving. She comes daily with ideas, answers questions, is patient. I didn’t realize how important that was. It’s incredible the ah-ha moments that occur.“

What apps has Sorensen been using in his classroom?

Classroom App

The Classroom App by Apple allows the teacher to see student screens live, open apps, lock screens, and project student work and more. This digital classroom management piece makes it easy for teachers to monitor what students are doing on their iPads and makes them more efficient with classroom management too. Sorensen’s favorite way to use this app is to project his classroom app screen so he can look up at at any time and see what every student is doing. It’s a 21st century version of the old quote that teacher have eyes in the back of their heads.

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Classkick

Classkick is a free app that allows teachers to create interactive slides and a two-way workflow for the student and teacher. It is an easy way to organize and deliver the curriculum content to the students.

What does a Classkick lesson look like? Here is an example of a lesson Sorensen created and how it has transformed content delivery and workflow in his math classroom.

  1. Students see the homework slide when they enter the code and join the session. Students independently grade their own homework with the key provided in Classkick.  If students need to see a problem worked out, they raise an electronic hand and Sorensen works the problem on the student screen. Students enter their homework grade on the slide 

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  2. It’s quick and easy for Sorensen to see the homework grade in the far left column as he scrolls down his screen.

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  3. Sorensen shares his teacher created math video lessons to students via a link in Classkick. Students watch the video lesson, take notes, and work practice problems.

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  4. When students finish working the problem, students see the answer. If they are correct, they move on, if not they view the video answer key of Sorensen briefly explaining the answer.

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Here is a link to the video lesson from today.

5.  Then students begin their homework.

“Mary Beth Peppers, my co-teacher, and I both login at the same time to our Classkick session. We can both see and help all the students,” Sorensen said.  “One time I literally helped students from the library when there was a sub in my room.”

Helping students in the moment is another strength of the blended learning environment. Sorensen can see all student screens all the time. In one class, he saw a student making a common error so he popped in on her slide and fixed it with her as she worked. Only she and Sorensen knew he helped her.

Here is quick question/answer with Sorensen at the end of day five.

What have kids learned in five short days?

Kids have learned self-sufficiency and accountability.

What features do you like the most?

My favorite things about all of this is I can get more individual with my students than I have. It is the cloning of myself so I can spend my time working one on one with students and catching errors that will help them be more successful, “ Sorensen said.  “I can see they have done their work and pop in and check their work. All of them.

What advice do you have for others?

If you get the chance, don’t even hesitate, do it!

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5 Benefits to the Global Classroom

Connecting is common place for students today. Students connect to people everyday via social media, gaming, and YouTube so why not tap these connectivity tools for your classroom. Globalizing your classroom is beneficial because it allows you access to experts, raise multicultural awareness, give students an authentic audience, provide opportunities for cooperative learning, and create a magical classroom environment.

 

Let’s look at five benefits to the global classroom.

 1.  Expertise

Let’s face it, we all can’t know everything.  In these days of tightening budgets, field trips may not be an option.  A perfect solution is to bring the experts and experiences to your classroom. Allowing students to connect with experts not only allows them to hear what they have to say, but to be inquisitive and ask questions.  Whether you participate in a Mystery Skype, explore a museum by a virtual field trip, join a global project, or bring in an expert to your students via a Google Hangout,  you will see direct educational benefits from the learning from their experiences.

2.  Multicultural Awareness

The second best thing to traveling to a new country is connecting with a country via a video conference.  Having a class discussion with two classrooms in different countries increases student perspective and allows all students to gain new insight.  While literature and videos are great ways to learn about new cultures and different languages, there is no replacement for face time with individuals actually living a different culture and speaking a different language. In addition, students gain a global perspective, understand time zones, can identify cities and countries around the world, and enjoy a first hand learning experience.  Connected teachers often hang a world map in their rooms and track their hangouts with thumbtacks. This map becomes a great talking point, is a visual reminder of their experiences, and an excellent way to keep track of all the connections made throughout the school year.

3.  Authentic Audience

What is the value of an audience beyond the classroom teacher? Motivation! I have witnessed students blossom into incredible readers and writers with an authentic audience waiting to read and comment on their work. Globalizing your classroom with blogging is powerful. Suddenly, not only does writing matter, but word choice and grammar do too. Our students have enjoyed being partnered with sister blogging classrooms. With blogging partners, classrooms takes turns in the blogging and commenting process. One day your classroom adds comments, and the next day you write blog posts! It is incredibly validating for writers to receive meaningful comments from around the world. An easy way to start blogging with students it to use the free platform on Seesaw (web.seesaw.me). Amplify your student work and join with other blogging classrooms using the hashtag #comments4kids on Twitter.

4.Cooperative Learning and Collaboration

Global classrooms foster cooperative learning experiences for students. One such global classroom idea is Mystery Skype / Hangout. Students participate in a class challenge to determine the location of the other classroom. Mystery Skype is global geography game. By asking a series of yes/no questions, students narrow the location of the mystery classroom. The first classroom to guess correctly wins! This activity taps into deductive reasoning skills, collaboration, and previous geography knowledge. The students gain confidence in their mapping, geography, and questioning skills as they partake in more and more of these activities. You can read more about Mystery Skype in Mrs. Evon’s blog post here.

5.  Curious and  Magical Classroom Environments

The ARCS model of technology integration says “lessons should increase students’ focus by using novel, surprising and out of the ordinary and uncertain events.  Effective techniques should stimulate a sense of wonder and maintain interest.”  The global classroom provides daily opportunities that raise curiosity and create magical learning moments.  One magical moment was when two high school Spanish classes connected for genuine Spanish speaking practice.  As the other students appeared on the screen, it was as if a UFO landed in front of the classroom. They were glued to the new people on the screen. Students fired off questions in Spanish and began a dialogue back and forth. They were curious to learn more about each other.  This created an authentic speaking environment with a classroom over 1500 miles away.  Suddenly grammar and vocabulary mattered.  It is important to have global learning activities on the calendar so students can look forward to the next time they travel outside the classroom walls and connect with others.

Globalizing the classroom gives your students access to the world’s expertise, an raises multicultural awareness, provides an authentic audience, allows for cooperative learning opportunities, and a creates magical learning environments.

Challenge yourself to participate in one global learning project this school year.  Use these resources as a springboard to connecting your classroom globally.

  • Join a Google Community such as Connected Classroom
  • Take a virtual field trip with your students with Skype in the Classroom.
  • Participate in a Global Project such as K-6 Classroom Projects by Jen Wagner or the Global Read Aloud
  • Participate in a Mystery Skype
  • Connect to other global educators via Twitter by following these hashtags: #mysteryskypeclassroom  #mysteryhangout
  • Let’s celebrate global classroom success stories.  Share your global classroom experiences by adding a comment to this post.

Written by Ann Feldmann

@annfeldmann1