Here in District 218 we are in the middle of transitioning to fully 1:1, but there are still some classrooms where the teacher is the only one with a device. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that next year will be the year to dig into 1:1 and tech, but the earlier you get started, the more comfortable using tech in your class, the better your chances for next year. Here are some strategies you can use right now, even if there is only one device in the classroom.
Put kids on Stage
The iPad camera is a great way to share student work up to the projector without them having to come up to the Elmo. You can even turn your iPad into a doc cam with the Stage app. It’ll allow you to annotate over anything you put under the camera. You can also use your camera as an opportunity to put kids on the screens themselves. Aim the camera at a volunteer and treat it like a live interview. We all freak out when we see ourselves on-screen, and kids come alive just as much. This is a cool and quick way to engage students instantly.
Post Lessons online for Absent Students
Use Screen Chomp, Show Me, or Educreations to explain a difficult math concept or assist in a tough homework assignment. Have students record their voices while drawing on helpful images or the apps’ whiteboard for a “how-to.” Share the link or send the tutorial email to absent students.
Use the iPad to Make Class Choices
One of the things I love to use the iPad to randomly choose students to call on during class discussions. My favorite tool to use for this is Wheel Decide, a web-based wheel you can modify with students names to randomly call on them. I love that it’s visual and has a sound effect, and students actually cheered for the wheel every time we used it (probably because they loved when their classmates got called on). Another randomizer app that’s pretty great, and it was recommended to me by Mrs. Annerino (thanks, Mary!): Randomly. It allows teachers to randomly call on students once you enter their names, but it also is great at randomly grouping kids into whatever custom configuration you can think of.
Take Kids on an In-Class Field Trip
Google Expeditions is an amazing app for in-class exploration of the outside world. It is a virtual reality teaching tool that lets you lead or join immersive virtual trips all over the world — get up close with historical landmarks, dive underwater with sharks, even visit outer space!
Video Conference With Another Class
You can connect your classroom with other classrooms using apps like Skype or Hangouts. This is a great opportunity to connect with others across the district and across the globe, offering us opportunities for collaboration that were not available before. You can do group projects together on air, brainstorm great ideas, and and even have class to class competitions.
Either way, technology is simply a tool to be used to support the already amazing teaching you are doing. Use this year as a chance to play and fail and learn before we go completely one to one.