How It All Began

“What’s a girl gotta do around here to get an iPad?”  I said to a friend who works in the Ed Tech department of our school district.

She said she was working on something and two months later I received my own iPad and a date for training. Two other teachers and I embarked that day on a journey that still amazes us even today.

collaboration 2

Our training, which began in January, consisted of awesome Apple trainer Greg Hall, our class set of iPads and one MacBook Air to be shared between the three of us.  We had to go to someone’s house because we couldn’t even access iTunes and the App store at school.  We set up the iPads and left with no directive, no expectations and no road map.

We launched iPads in our classes the very next day.  Immediate engagement.  I spent hours and hours outside of school searching for apps. I spent every planning period syncing apps, and putting them in folders. I had Greg on speed dial.  He continued to be awesome and supportive.

I worked on integrating the iPad to be part of our classroom, not a separate tool.  Kids starting excelling as I was able to differentiate and personalize activities for their needs. In May, just four short months later, my kids all went to first grade reading above grade level for the first time in 22 years of teaching. We were all blown away.

group collaboration

My epiphany came when I went through Literacy Leader training. My school district, in conjunction with the state of South Carolina Department of Education, offered a year-long cohort.  I went to monthly training and all that I ever believed about how children learn was reinforced, deepened and celebrated during that training.  I had found my passion.

I knew the iPads could be teamed up with great teaching and the Reading and Writing Workshop model.  I began to focus on creating content, redefining workflow and focusing on each child’s abilities and needs.  My kids started using the iPad for reading response journals, science journals, research, and creating projects.  The iPad use was seamless.

I started blogging. We joined KidBlog and my kids starting blogging with me and with each other.  I found even more ways to increase rigor, incorporate standards, personalize learning and truly transform my classroom.   Since incorporating the iPad into my instruction, 100% of my students go to first grade reading above grade level. This shows the power of this instructional tool when students are able to use it to demonstrate their learning. In February 2013, I was chosen as an Apple Distinguished Educator.

collaboration 3

9 thoughts on “How It All Began

  1. Pingback: What’s Your Story? | iTeach with iPads

  2. As a teacher of 5 year olds I look forward to reading you posts and I am constantly inspired by your journey. My iPad journey began just over 12 months ago when I received a teacher iPad. I now have 6 iPad minis in my class and this has been a turning point in my career. iPads have opened up a whole new way of learning for the children. Just wish I lived a little closer to you so I could come and visit but New Zealand is a little far away!

  3. This is such an inspiring story. I love the idea of 1:1 use of iPads! I like millions of other teachers do not know how to begin to get the resources for a full classroom set. How did the process work? I might have missed that but what do I do!! I would love to get this started at my school.

    • Thank you Angelica…I was fortunate that my district had a vision and got them for us. Many people are looking for grants or Donors Choose to fund even a small set for their classrooms. It’s worth a try!

  4. Good morning! I am actually one of those teachers who received a set of 5 through donors! I am so excited. I current have two of my own that I had allowed my children to use so we are steadily growing! I am so ready to thoroughly utilize the iPad for other things besides literacy centers.

  5. I just happened to discover your blog while doing research for a grad school course and I find your plight through iPad teaching completely fascinating! What advice do you have for teachers who are only just embracing the use of technology in their pedagogy?

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