Patrick’s Success Story

100_0317It’s hard to believe that the first iPhone was released just a little more than 5 years ago, and I knew from the first time I held a device it would change the way I taught in the classroom.  Now, the iPad is just one of the tools I use in the classroom to reach as many students as I can.

The iPad is unique in the fact that the interface is so understandable to many different students.  Trackpads, mice & other interfaces require a degree of hand/eye coordination that can be difficult for many students with disabilities.  The iPad’s touch interfaces is immediately understandable, the cause and effect of touching the screen and having an action happen is exactly what many students want to do with a computer.  Having a large surface available for interacting creates a unique student/device relationship.

I’ve found the most useful apps for students are those that are open ended.  You will find a ton of apps that are, what I like to call, drill & kill.  Endlessly reviewing facts or information, and while they may have good rewards and keep students engaged, they are not what I recommend when looking at an app.  iDevices, whether an iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad Mini or iPad give students unique ways to interact with content.

My students use iDevices to take pictures, then use apps like Skitch or DoodleBuddy to annotate and talk about them.  We use apps like Voicethread to create picture slideshows with audio, Creative Book Builder to make books with embedded audio and video, as well as Teaching Table to practice math concepts.  One of the huge advantages of the iPad is that I can have a world of content and manipulatives available to me in one device.

It has also transformed how I accomplish many tasks.  I use Evernote to store pictures, annotate them with Skitch, and use Penultimate to create sketches.  I use apps like Educreations, and ScreenChomp to create visuals and explain concepts to students on the fly.  ClassDojo, and it’s accompanying website, allow me to quickly reward students for on task behavior in a public and positive way.  Apps like AudioBoo or Soundcloud give the opportunity to record students reading.  Using the App Record of Reading for iPad I can take running records of students and keep them close to me.  ForAllRubrics allows me to create personalized rubrics and score them on the iPad, using their webapp.

I can create simple communication boards using the SoundingBoard app, interactive quizzes with Bitboard Pro, and read the latest News-2-You all in one device.  The iPad provides me a mobile platform to engage multiple students, represent material in different ways, and give students a way to show what they know.

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