Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tool #8

 Net books vs. i-pads:  class room use

After having worked with both devices simultaneously in the classroom, I have found a preference for the i-pad.

During the first half of the second semester, I worked in collaboration with our ELA i-coach and another 9th grade colleague to try a new approach.  The idea was to have students see the importance of using appropriate context within their own writing. The lesson involved having students critique artwork, create questions to help guide their understanding of the context of the artwork, and then conduct a mini-research using teacher created Scoop It pages, on the artist, in order to gain further insight into the meaning of the work. The entire process required students to work collaboratively in small groups.  The research component was a bit difficult to handle since students only had access to one device per group, either a net book or an ipad.

 Immediately, problems were had with the netbooks: too slow too boot up, too slow to log in, too slow to gain internet access, we're losing power, the screens are too little to really read together as a group...

The ipads, on the other had, were much easier to maneuver, seemed much more user-friendly, and allowed students to be able to view information on the screen without too much complaining.

While the netbooks were useful in typing up simple documents, the same can be said about the i-pads.  Students seemed to gravitate more towards the ipads, perhaps due to their novelty, but mostly because it was a much more fun, laid-back way to conduct research.  It wasn't intimidating, it wasn't boring, and it actually helped them learn a thing or two.

 In addition to the above lesson, I have designed & created learning stations in the classroom. These stations often require students to travel from place to place, within the class room, to read, write, or think.  The technology station (either in the form of Scoop-it pages, educational apps/links, reading of on-line sources/current events) always proves to be a favorite.

Having a device readily available in the hands of students is an excellent way to reinforce the use of  excellent online resources such as: the mini-grammar lessons found at Purdue. com,, and It reinforces the fact that knowledge is always in your hands.

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