Thursday, July 11, 2013

Preparing for the big event- 1:1 iPads

Who is with me? I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer for a
Google Hangout  with The Educator's Room (TER). Hoping to see follow up discussion #lancer1 on twitter too. Username: @WhitneyKaulbach.

Here is a quick overview of how our schools- grades 7-12 will offer each student personal access to digital devices, the majority being iPads. Yes, I am spending oodles of time gaming, using apps and some official summertime professional development on my school campus.  Don't all teachers find a way to squeeze hours of work during vacation time?  It is a terrible disease- this devotion to learning.

As teachers we need to prepare for the phase in period and then the full access period.  Fortunately I am part of an amazing social studies department or PLC. We get along,  we agree to commonalities while embracing our individuality.  Our principal supports teacher led professional development which is why we all showed up in a good mood today. My husband Marc led us through a quick review of the goals and purpose for our innovative technology. What drives the initiative and where will we end up.

Steps for preparation-  management chart for workhorse apps- see document (by Marc Gilbertson)
make certain every adult teacher can master the basics, the tricks to efficient use of our devices. It is silly but we quickly reviewed where the home button was located, how to create a screen shot or turn a website into an app. Turning down brightness saves the battery. Four fingers swiped across the screen will bring you to a new open window. These are the intuitive tricks that my daughter can master. For teachers, we actually needed the review.

Marc presented us with the goals that should elevate the purpose of learning.  For example, we have this ongoing debate on paper versus paperless classrooms. Marc reminded us that a loftier focus is to ascertain that each student learns with ease, choosing  the resources most invaluable. Even if it means a return to paper. ubiquity for all students does not mean, the same tools. It means same access.

Ubiuity- Our department agreed that we will all utilize the same online learning platform.  First, it has privacy protections concerning grading and student identities. Personally, I will add my blogs and website links to this site in order to have quick pathways outside the school. I like to have greater public access at times. And there will be times that students feel this way too.  We decided to stop Marc's presentation and view one another's Haiku learning platforms. We all set them up differently but, as the librarian pointed out, those organized with visuals and animation were more user friendly. Iconic images, portraits, animation can be the starting off point for discussion concerning a particular era of history.

Spontaneous learning- we want students to explore topics of interest in a style most beneficial. This freedom needs a ton of upfront structure. Marc had us download workflow apps a month ago. His investigation and tutorials saved us a ton of time. I had learned three apps but needed assistance for two. We all spent time coming up tp speed with these apps that will  be on every device. We also chose ones which can be accessed offline since 20% of student and faculty lack Internet access at home.

iMovie      Explain Everything         Notability       Pages     
 Google Drive/ Dropbox                     Creative Book Builder

Routines and Possibilities.  Tools and apps change constantly and the competitive market constantly bombards us with these exciting changes. It overwhelms me. We decided through ongoing discussion, to design classrooms with routines that are NOT reliant on one app. Potentially, students will have these clear expectations and daily routines that support their experimentation with a variety of apps. 
Each class will devote time to formative assessments using Haiku polls, paper quizzes, sketches, Quizlet, Socrative etc.  Each course will deliver common summative tests. Students will be able to take them numerous times for recorded highest scores. Technology that supports discussion is a primary goal. We want opportunities that were not possible in traditional classrooms as the added value.
Discussion boards and chats - Haiku
Audio notes- embedding audio in a written note or a photo journal- Evernote, Explain Everything
Reports, book clubs, debates, movie trailers, interviews, read aloud- iMovie.

Personalized- my Masters in Literacy has prepared me for greater organization and attention to reading and writing. My routines include a daily itinerary on my Haiku. Students will find this on their own or immediately when they enter the room via QR code. I hope that by outlining tasks and knowledge gained, students will personalize their learning. Clearly defined minimums and maximums allow them to work at their own pace. Homework will shape itself from there. We should see a transformation from my control of assigned work towards their choice of editing, reviewing, retakes, depth or interest.

Reading from text & etmology or word derivation of a chosen vocab term. This can be collaborative.
Notes and lecture or Q&A- use Notability or Pages etc. 
Formative assessment
students update interactive notebook.
Document analysis- discussion, point of view 
Game/ activity/ dance or music
Exit reflection or assessment.

Engagement & augmented reality-  I'm spending the last days of summer playing with apps and redesigning big goals. It would be great to have goals for myself and for the students that we work on all year long. For me, this means more publication online. For students it's design could be simple or extraordinary. Stay tuned at I use twitter and geochirp to collect big data.

for more on my school, check out our website: