The first week of summer session has come and gone. There were many changes, which I’ll get to in a separate post, but overall they were mostly positive. To start our unit on fresh water, I began with a frozen bottle demonstration and formative probes to assess students’ prior knowledge about where water comes from.
We then moved on to a quick 8-minute direct lecture, where students used a Cornell-notes-based guide sheet for their note-taking. I was unable to play the Qwiki app for explicit vocabulary instruction on the first day because the adapter was not yet available. We used our word wall instead, and then I used Splashtop to project the Keynote. It took students only a few seconds to realize I was manipulating the Smartboard remotely, and they were surprised. The spotlight option became quickly a favorite of mine since I used it to highlight important terms, and give out not-so-subtle hints on important key points they should have in their guided notes sheet.
After 1-2 days of using Splashtop in the class, I figured out a few tricks to optimize the app and IPad use:
1) Autolock the screen rotation.
2) Get a stylus!
3) Auto-save the encrypted security code.
There were also a few problems I came across using the iPad in class. When I finally received the adapter to project the iPad screen onto the Smartboard, audio was not projected through the Smartboard. I had to hook it up to a separate set of speakers. I also teach classes back to back, so most of my materials and instruction are set up to be as streamlined as they can be. However, it takes away time when I have to switch from iPad to laptop and then set up iPad to configure to my laptop. I’ll have to rethink my flow and make sure I don’t use both at the same time during my direct instruction.
One of my colleagues heard about my use of the iPad in the classroom through one of my students. She has her personal iPad and expressed interest in using it in her class too. I offered to help her set up during prep. The technology director was also able to fix 3 more iPads, which he gave over to me. I am waiting for at least 3 more so I can evenly distribute to smaller groups. My first week has been about experimenting with my use, and I want to move to getting the iPads to my students next and using them in labs and for creating products.
An immediate problem I saw was that there was no way to sync multiple iPads at once. I am collecting a few apps I want to use consistently, but I will have to download them 1 iPad at a time. I also will need to figure out a management system when we have more iPads.
Overall though it has been a good start, and I hope to continue learning more about this experience!