In September, I was given the opportunity to utilize an iPad cart for my classes until February. I used this opportunity to investigate how well high school students would be able to use them in a limited setting, for a limited amount of time. My primary goal was to try to establish a web source in which I could continue to interact with them online after the iPads were gone. I found two sites very useful for that purpose: Google Drive and MyBigCampus. When I created a document for the students, I uploaded it to Google Drive. The students then used their iPads to access and open the document in an iPad app, Notability. Having accessed the document, they could then edit and take notes directly using the Notability App. Another useful app that the students used was MyBigCampus. I would create entrance or exit tickets that the students would need to access on the application and answer. This app was also helpful to share links, images, audio and video files, and to create message board type activities for the class. MyBigCampus and Google Drive are both programs that function independently of the iPads, and I can continue to utilize them for the rest of the school year.
There are so many useful applications (many of them at no cost) available for students to create, edit, present, and share information to their classmates, and we explored many of them as a class. I wanted to focus delivering content to the students through the iPads. Initially, I attempted to go “paper free” with the students, and use the iPads exclusively. Some students were hesitant to go that route, requesting paper copies. It was an interesting observation to note that students weren’t comfortable with that sudden of a transition. Some didn't want to use the iPads for note taking at all, others wanted both a paper copy and to use the iPad, and yet others were comfortable relying on the iPad altogether. I appreciated the fact that they were able to identify their needs individually, and responded to their needs,
In an era of 21st century skills development, I truly believe that the use of technology in the classroom is an integral part of developing the skills students need to be successful in the future. The skills, initiative, independence and collaboration necessary for their work and college lives depend on their ability to easily and comfortably utilize iPads.
By: Laura Brace, Belfast Central School