Beginner iPad Day: November 10, 2014
A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to provide a session of exploration and learning on our school ipads to a group of my co-workers. It was an informal setting. I wasn’t really sure how this day would proceed. My staff ranges from beginner iPad users to folks who can do quite a bit. They each had a different comfort level, but all of them told me that they wanted some time to explore these machines.
I don’t want to go through every detail of what we did. This started out as some of my staff agreeing to help me out with a “teacherless” session for my course. We had a facilitator (me), but we mostly played with programs available to the kids and ones that we could use in our instruction. The teachers informed me that they were looking for help with writing, and how to use the darn iPads with kids. So we focused on a few different apps that I thought were good ones for kids. My favs for little people, Starfall Learning, BOB Books, My Journal, Felt Board Story, and Toontastic were the big ones for kids to explore. I showed the basics of Explain Everything (an app I am still discovering), Book Creator, Popplet, and Pic Collage.
What I really noticed on this day was that we, as adults, still need time to explore. Teachers are often given many programs to teach, books to read, and new technologies to use but we are never given any TIME to explore them. It’s a quick 2 hour in-service, and we are expected to be masters at iPads or a new curricular program. But we just aren’t wired that way. We are not that different from the students that we teach. We need to be given the opportunity to play with the new stuff, to make mistakes and to experience it. We need time to sit in a room so that we can work together and talk about what we are doing or discovering. We get this pressure to attend a workshop on some bright, shiny new idea and then feel we need to implement it. I believe, for me, that my next few PD days will be for me to explore and discuss. I hope to sit with these teachers again so that we can continue to discover and brainstorm how to use these tools to help our kids.