iPads in the Classroom

The journey of a thousand learning outcomes begins with a single click…

Why is TLLP an Exceptional Professional Learning Opportunity?

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TLLP is action research and genuine profession learning at its finest.  

The program allowed us as teachers to define an issue we wanted to target, create a plan, and carry it out.  Along the way, we were given tools and advice when we requested them, but at not point were we ever told what to do nor how to do it.

While at times it did seem strange, to be given the budget and told to go figure it out, it was necessary and valuable. For teachers who are used to being told to follow directives and mandates and the to implement what the research says, it felt a little bit scary or dangerous to be out on our own, making the decisions, spending a budget, reading the literature, creating the research methodology, designing and implementing the project on our own.

It forced us to “own” our learning in every sense of the word. The TLLP program respected our expertise and professional judgement.  We designed and implemented our iPad project on our own, cognizant of our accountability to the Ministry, through the TLLP program, but also aware that – just like our students – given the support and the resources, we have the ability to succeed and to learn valuable lessons.

 

Some things we learned?

1.  Network.  Get connected with people who have been there before, through personal connections and through social media.  No need to limit yourself to Board colleagues.  

2.  Be meticulous in your research practices.  Make notes when reading because you will forget where you got that great idea – trust me!  Plus, nothing says professional like an annotated bibliography.
 
3.  Communicate clearly and widely with your school team, administration, technical people within the Board – but also be aware of what each group needs to hear at the time.  Being able to give a brief executive summary is priceless.
 
4.  iPads make learning fun and kids who are having fun want to stay engaged in learning activities. Our experiences clearly support the theory of gamification. 
 
5.  It is hard to let go of control -in two main senses:  of the iPads within the school as they head out with other teachers, but also of the direction the learning might take when you give your students greater control of their learning trajectory. 
 
Some comments from our students when we asked them what they liked about learning with iPads:

When we asked our students what they liked about working with iPads, “FUN”  and/or “It helps me learn” mentioned in 95% of responses.

Some specific comments:

 

  • It makes Math more interesting
  • We can use our hands
  • iPads have music and action
  • When you play math games, you earn points and can buy stuff for your avatar
  • Glass Mosaic:  You learn about shapes and you can move them around
  • Geoboard: You can move things around when doing geometry and working with shapes
  • Jigsaw puzzles:
  • You can do a jigsaw puzzle and not lose any pieces
  • You can make it easier or harder depending on what you want
    • Math Bingo: It makes adding and subtracting FUN!!!
    • River Test: It is challenging and it helps you with spatial sense
    • Math Puppy: it has cute puppies so people want to play it
    • My Math App:  It wakes up my brain
    • Math Bingo:  You have fun and learn at the same time
    • All About Time:
    • You can turn the hands on the clock
    • It tells you if you are right or wrong right away
      • Hyper Blast:  It helps me improve my adding and subtracting
      • Splash Math 3:  It is fun
      • Math Racing: It is fun because there is racing so you keep playing

 

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