Integrating technology into the classroom can boost the learning process

This year I’ve started using my iPad to help with organization, planning and assessment of my students. My goal is to infuse and integrate technology into the classroom in ways that create community and facilitate learning, even if not all students have access to devices. I started by asking myself, “How can I meaningfully use an iPad in the classroom when school laptops or personal devices are unavailable?” Since then I have made it a priority for each lesson to purposefully incorporate an iPad to benefit students.

This has not been a clean or easy process. For instance, what works for Grade 3s, will not necessarily work with the Grade 8s and vice versa. Likewise, what works well with one group of Grade 3s, will not necessarily work as smoothly with the next group of Grade 3s. It’s a continual process of reflecting, making changes and asking new questions. I still have a long way to go, but there are some tricks and tips that I have picked up along the way.

1) Embed media literacy and digital citizenship in all areas of the curriculum. The first thing we do as a class before each new project, unit or lesson is clearly set out the learning goals and success criteria for the use of any devices or platforms used in the classroom. I did lessons on digital citizenship and media literacy at the start of the year in order to make this possible.

2) Connect your iPad to the projector for viewing on a white board. All students need to be able to see what is on the iPad at the same time. A simple adaptor that connects the iPad to the projector is the key. This is also a good way to model safe and effective use of the iPad with students.

3) Track assessment for learning with Evernote. I take pictures of student work, upload them, and add constructive comments and feedback. Once learning goals and success criteria have been established, this app makes the assessment process easier.

4) Get a whiteboard app. I use Talkboard (free) and ShowMe, but my favourite is Explain Everything. This is an app that can include screenshots, excerpts from textbooks, pictures of student work, and space to write notes, reflect, show work and share new learning with students as it’s projected on the whiteboard.

Any books you have in iBooks can be projected onto the screen. You can take screen shots of a page, attach to Explain Everything, and still have space to highlight and annotate sections with. This can be particularly valuable during literacy blocks. iAnnotate is also great app for highlighting text and making notes with any PDF document as well.

Other suggestions

The use of the Cloud has been invaluable to my instructional programming with the iPad. Programs like Edmodo, Dropbox, D2L Learning Management System and Evernote have been valuable platforms to use with my students. These platforms enable me to access student work and notes from any classroom or from home. My new inquiry is, “If students have access to internet and computer at home, and are comfortable with technology, will these platforms make homework easier to submit, and will it foster increased motivation and enthusiasm to continue to write, contribute blogs, in addition to work required in class?”

Of course, my dream is to be able to go wireless someday for projection of the iPad screen to the whiteboard. I’d like to circulate around the classroom while teaching with the iPad to engage with students, observe and interact in meaningful ways. I believe this will further create a sense of community in the classroom,and foster more positive connections and learning opportunities with the students.

Regardless, I realize that it is a privilege to be able to use just one iPad with my students. I am grateful for this personal inquiry and the opportunities for learning and teaching that are unfolding. As technology continues to evolve, my inquiry will continue!

6 thoughts on “Integrating technology into the classroom can boost the learning process

  1. Pingback: Integrating technology into the classroom can boost the learning process | Teachers Blog

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