I have thought about creating a blog post for a good month now. I was putting it off because I tend to have a perfectionist streak, but today I woke up and decided to just write a post already! I actually edited that last sentence 10 times, by the way.
So we are fortunate enough to have 11 iPads for student use at our school. I wanted to start the year off right, emphasizing technology integration and collaboration skills, so my I decided to create a project for my sixth grade social studies classes that involved geography apps and a book creation app. The students would need to create an ebook (eBook? Ebook?) on Scribble Press that contained various maps and write descriptions about the types of maps. They would take screenshots from Google Earth and Kids World Maps. I decided this would be my map skills unit, so I practiced using the apps on my own, created a rubric, and introduced it to my classes.
As a whole, I was quite pleased with the project outcomes and the students seemed to benefit from practicing map skills in this way, as opposed to the worksheet way. It took longer than I expected, but they did gain experience with group skills and lots of problem solving.
Of course, with using iPads, there is a large amount of interest, but I found the group sizes to be problematic on the first day. The kids had trouble sharing one iPad (group size was between 3 and 4) and working out how to share the responsibilities to create their books. Once we discussed some strategies on how to keep all group members working, that problem was quickly solved.
And, of course, there are always issues with technology! Since the iPads hadn’t been updated over the summer, Scribble Press kept shutting down mid page for some students. I conducted a mini Twitter lesson, and sent out a tweet to Scribble Press for help. They were very helpful!! You can check out my twitter page for more details (@ghostbustrsteph). Due to the app’s unpredictable behavior, students were only able to complete 1-2 pages of their books during a class period. Some of the groups eventually gravitated towards the classroom’s pull down map and the poor iPad was left discarded on the table. Some things never lose their appeal!
There it is- my first blog post and hopefully some inspiration.