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:
- at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace;
- at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home;
- 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?
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.
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.
- 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
- It’s quick and easy for Sorensen to see the homework grade in the far left column as he scrolls down his screen.
- 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.
- 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.
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!