iPads at Lewis Elementary

At EdCampPDX today, Lewis Elementary fourth grade team Paul Colvin and Matt Marchyok took us through how they used 13 new iPads in the classroom this year. I took the following notes and screen captures. Thank you for helping us get a head start with our small iPad pilot this year!

I left the session with a better understanding of what iPad tools could facilitate the transition to a digital classroom. Less clear is whether this represents a digital version of time-honored paper activities or a new form of learning. Toward the end, we laid out some preliminary ideas for uses of iPads in an inquiry-based classroom.

Sharing documents
– DropDAV, WebDAV through DropBox
– iCloud a likely replacement
– Shared passcode between student partners
– DropBox good for sharing but not security
– Google Docs good for security but not for sharing and writing

Class Activities
– Assign an entry task each day, also
– BrainPop of the day available on iPad for free
– BrainPop also available through Google Apps & student accounts
– Reading AtoZ to get a bank of leveled books, fileshare those PDFs to reading groups
– Keyboarding problematic: some students preferred to use a regular keyboard
– Better to type in landscape mode

Writing
– Pages
– WritePad
– Dragon Dictation

Math
– Khan Academy
– IXL
– various apps
– http://easycbm.com (progress monitoring)
– Khan Academy uses Google Apps logins, for tracking student progress
– RocketMath, Fraction Factory, PizzaMath

Reading: RAZ Kids
– Leveled books  http://www.raz-kids.com
– Share PDFs
– Seeking a reader that supports annotation really well (goal for this year), save annotations into iBooks
– Secret Garden, in place of class set of books, public domain book

Social Studies
– Google Earth and Maps
– Oregon Trail
– This Day in History

Art
– Brushes for freehand painting, Brushes Player for playing back brushstrokes on a Mac

BrainPOP: very relevant to daily events
– featured movie easy to access on iPad
– also available online + other free content but not as easy to access

Computers vs. iPads
–  you could argue for diversity of platforms
– iPads may better fit kid hands

EdModo — social network for the classroom

IdeaFlight: broadcast teacher iPad to student iPads in the classroom

Going paperless
– fewer stacks of paper
– writing submitted online
– quick prompts

I am beginning to think that nearly everyone can read successfully on a screen if they practice enough. An iPad may offer an easier transition to reading on the screen, because you can hold it in your lap, where a book traditionally goes. We do not read books directly in front of us like a computer screen!

“Not one time did I have a tech issue” — Matt on iPad ease of use

iPads in an inquiry-based classroom
– interview notes
– photos and video
– publishing
– writing

4 comments

  1. Great report.

    As for the comment about Google Docs– was there somethng specific about iPads and Google Docs that wasn’t great, or is it that Google Docs in general has some issues with sharing and writing?

    Thanks!

  2. Justin Birch says:

    Hey Richard,

    Sorry to leave an unrelated comment, but I was hoping to find out if you would accept a guest post. I had an idea for one that I think would be a good fit. You can reach me at justbirch81 [at] gmail.com if you’re interested.

    Thanks!

  3. Richard says:

    Jim, have you tried it? You can only edit one mode at a time, and the formatting toolbar does not appear. The presenters suspected that Docs was better supported on Android tablets for competitive reasons, but they did not go into detail about what works better there. I also got the impression that they had tried to have students work in Docs on iPads and had a rough go with it.

    I hope you are well.

    Richard

  4. Richard says:

    Justin, tell me more about your background and relationship to instructional technology in schools.