Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of imagination.-John Dewey
One of the great things I’ve noticed in the last 2 years is how my teaching has evolved with the use of the iPads. It’s been a gradual shift, but the way I am using them now is different than the first pilot year in 2011.
In the beginning, I was focused on integrating the iPads into our day and was very much “app” oriented. We had a lot of success that first year and my class data reflected that.
A subtle shift began last year when my students started taking charge of their own learning. It wasn’t exactly planned, but the environment was supportive and I was open to their ideas. Soon, they were creating content and not just interacting with apps. They were blogging, writing, and reading on the iPad. I was thrilled with the student-centered learning environment.
This year, I’ve learned from my students, we’ve raised the bar, and kids continue to create their own content. They are teaching other students in other classes and other grade levels, and they are articulating their learning in a variety of ways. They are choosing how they want to demonstrate their learning and I am facilitating their choices. I indicate what skills we are working on and they decide how they want to learn it and how they want to demonstrate their learning. Their choices are far more involved and detailed than anything I would’ve imagined. They are integrating multiple apps to create a finished product. They can articulate what they are learning and how to demonstrate their learning.
Here is an example from Explain Everything. This child was demonstrating plant parts.
I have no idea what next school year will bring (and goodness knows, I am looking forward to enjoying my summer break!), but the outlook is bright. I am excited about learning from the other Apple Distinguished Educators this summer at the institute and bringing that knowledge back to my classroom.
Wherever you are in your classroom journey, it’s important to reflect on where you are and where you’ve been. It’s important to celebrate your successes, no matter how small, and then be willing to move forward and try new things. Daring to imagine the possibilities and being willing to change is not just transforming to your own teaching, it will transform your classroom in ways you never thought were possible.
Today, we will do exciting new things. Let’s get to it!
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