Friday, April 13, 2012

Yesterday, today, tomorrow

6 iPads,
all the time
What a treasure!

Currently I have 5 iPads plus mine for the class. 26 students, and a cart of Macbooks for a few hours every day.

A game changer.

I have always used technology with my students. I think the excitement and possibilities that technology brings to teaching was one of the  prime reasons I became a teacher. I love technology in the hands of children. They are fearless, eager and have imaginations that continue to astound me...even after more than 20 years.

I started using  computers in class with an Apple....before the Mac. I began teaching in Surrey with a part time assignment teaching French to a very unwilling group of intermediate students. We started with Hypercard stacks, Kidpix,  Slideshow and music. The kids quickly became enthralled with French when they needed it to create a mystery game with a house setting. They found that spelling counts when you are programming and there was reason to learn all that vocabulary - to make the game work. I bought reference manuals and the place took on a life of it's own.

Later Wikis became the empowering inspiration to get my class involved.  In 2007 I started my grade 4 class making Wikis. They researched and created reports on owls, legends and many First Nation topics. Again momentum grew, even with slow upload times, afternoon crashes, and many days that we had to shut down completely. They persevered, and thrived; and writing and editing took on new importance. The students pushed themselves to add more detail to their work and even edited from home. They still go online and check out their old work. That was 2007. They are in high school now.

On to iWeb, iMovie, and iPhoto. The class is still humming and some days  iWeb crashes, we  find out that we can no longer upload to publish, or all our photos load upside down online, my nerves actually start to crackle. But then, I look up to see a class of totally engaged, totally noisy children -  all doing amazing work, and I marvel at how far they have come. They have become mentors and team mates. They use Garageband,  iMovie, and iWeb and wheel the iPads as cameras, recorders, and book makers with confidence and authority.  They are eager to take on new challenges and the results are amazing!

Our Ipads are doorways to the world. We use them to capture and create. Having them available all the time means we can always capture the moment or "just add" or take screen shots to share exactly when we need to.

Through the years I have been told that elementary students were too young to use computers, not able to type well enough, do not need to save their work, do not need to use colour, only need 20 minutes a week..... Not in my experience.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?
A new generation of "swipers" are on the way.

I can only imagine.
I can hardly wait.

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