Individualized Learning (Teaching?) on the iPad… A Holiday Story



Teaching a two day week is hard, but that is exactly what our teachers had to do this week.  They are great days to break from routine and try something creative, so our first grade 1:1 iPad classes went to work.  They knew that they wanted to add some pizzazz to the normal assignment of…”What I am thankful for…” writing assignments.  I gave them some options on what they could do, and then something terrific happened.  They ALL did the SAME assignment using the iPads in completely DIFFERENT ways.  I finished recording the last student (on my iRig microphone) and thought about how great that was.  Every teacher using the iPad in different ways, and achieving the same great results.  Ideally, I would like the students to choose what they do for individualized learning, but I think individualized teaching could be the first step.

Teacher #1 used Voicethread on iPad.  This was very simple and we split this project into parts over the two days.  We took the pictures of the students with their writing on the first day.  The next day I came in and recorded them reading what they had written down on the iPad.  We finished, and I emailed the link to the presentation to the teacher to send to her parents.  No muss, no fuss.  The only downside to this way was it was all done on my iPad.  I do show the students what we are doing and describe the steps, but that just isn’t the same as actually DOING it.  The finished product was very nice though, and I am sure the parents will love it. 

Teacher #2 used Explain Everything.  The bonus of using Explain Everything is that I love it! The more I use Explain Everything, I think of some new way to integrate it in the classroom.  We used this much the same way we used the VoiceThread app.  The difference was the kids were using their own iPads and experimenting with the app more.  The teacher also had them take their own pictures of their writing to practice using the iPad camera.  We showed them how to manipulate the picture in Explain Everything, and they got the hang of it.  The only downside to this was that it did take more time.  We exported their movies to the camera roll, but then we didn’t have them in a place to share with their parents, they are just on the camera roll.  We didn’t have time to move them to our shared drive to put them together in iMovie. 

Teacher #3 used Screen Chomp.  I love Screen Chomp, the only thing that is difficult for me is that I feel like I don’t have control of my video once it is completed.  It is hosted on their site and you can send the link to parents, but I can’t get it to the camera roll on the iPad.  I watched this teacher use this with the students and did not assist her.  She really wants her students to learn to use the apps on their own and solve their own problems.  I completely respect that attitude.  I think it is awesome.  So I don’t know if she got them all finished and was able to share them with her parents.  I suspect she did, I will ask after the holiday break. 

Teacher #4 used iMovie.  The teacher had done it this way last year, but her difference was that she had them use the camera and take their own video using the front camera.  After the students completed their movie, they moved the file to a shared folder using iFiles.  Then when they came back in the afternoon she took the files and showed them how to take the clips and create an iMovie on her iPad.  She used her dongle to project her iPad on the SMART Board while she created the movie to demonstrate.  The movie is then a simple email away to share with parents.  

Is individualized teaching the first step to integrating the iPad?  Time will tell.  I love these teachers and their willingness to get out there and try different things with the iPads.



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