Last week I was notified by my district that I had been selected by the District Technology Committee to receive an iPad for my classroom that they acquired through a grant. AWESOME NEWS!!!! The grant provided 10 staff members in the Special Ed. dept to utilize the ipad in the classroom, in speech therapy, counseling sessions, etc.
I in turn was given the responsibility to integrate the iPad into my class & to participate in the committees Ning where we share best practices, favorite apps, and so on. In fact I was asked to “make Special Ed. & technology shine”. I think I can make that happen =)
I am so excited to start using the Ipad & introduced it to my class today. The following is the post that I wrote for the Ning (need to figure out a way to get it to be a straight feed to my blog..but no RSS option..boooo!):
Today I introduced my self-contained students to the iPad and how it will be utilized in the classroom. I explained how students are selected to use the iPad, and we discussed how important it is to be responsible & safe when using it.
I decided I wanted a way for the students to “sign in” so I created a notebook with the Noteshelf app, and showed the kids how they can sign their name & date, and I passed around the iPad so they could see how easy it is to “write” using their finger. I also introduced them to the 3 folders I created (Math, Science, ELA/Literacy) which contains the apps they will need to complete guided tasks. The students sat in a circle so I could easily show them how to navigate, return to the homescreen, and we even created an Informercial together using the Sparklefish app. Most of the students were really into it, but a couple students with communication/speech delays were a bit more timid when trying to identify parts of speech, but with some encouragement & guidance, they participated. I’m hoping that apps like Sparklefish & other audio/speech controlled apps will help the students to feel more confident in future class activities. Some students did have to leave for related services while I was giving the iPad tutorial, but I will be reviewing with them during homeroom tomorrow and will meet one on one with a couple of students that may need a bit more explanation about how they will use the iPad.
The only down side I have noticed is that the 3G is not connecting in my classroom. Our school is a cellular dead zone and even though the iPads are 3G enabled, it can’t quite pick up a signal. Luckily I had a lot of apps already loaded, but some of the science apps require live updating so w/o the 3G, they are unusable. This also hampers the ability for my students to review our class flashcards on www.quizlet.com. which have wonderful audio capabilities & review games. I’m hoping there is a way to get around this so that the Ipad is accessible for more than just apps in the future.
Overall, today was a success & the students were really buying into using the ipad in class. For now it will mainly be used during our Content Support class, though I am already planning on integrating it into my science classes on Friday. We will be starting a center based measurement lab, with the ipad being one of the centers. Students will practice identifying metric measurements with the Splash Math App. The Splash Math App was free, but the metric measurement add-on was $.99.
So what has your experience with the iPad been like? Are you using it in a classroom? Have you had any difficulty with the 3G connectivity at school? Leave your thoughts =)