This week is an exciting one! I am rolling out the iPads to all of my classes. We have a mobile cart that will be available for teachers to sign out and use in their rooms whenever they want to include iPads in the lessons. To help them get ready for this, I am taking the cart around to each class this week and introducing the iPads to the students. We cover the basics – care and keeping of the iPads – before jumping into an activity. So far the kids have been very good about handling the iPads carefully. After I go over the basics and hand them out, I introduce our getting-to-know-the-iPad activity.
I am using a QR code scavenger hunt as an orientation activity. I have QR odes printed out that I place around the room, and we then go over how to use the Scan app. All students scan the QR code with the directions first, and then spread out around the room to find other codes. Each code asks them a question about one of the apps we have installed on the iPads. They read the question, then go back to their desks to explore the iPad and write down the correct answer on their answer sheet. The kids have been having a wonderful time with this! When we get close to the end of the class period, we regroup at their desks and go over how to turn off running apps before putting the iPads away. We go over the answers together, and then have a Q&A session about the iPads.
One of the best parts of this rollout is that I am utilizing student assistants from my two pilot classes. I have two sixth graders join me for each class and help with handing out and collecting iPads, as well and providing assistance to students who need help. My assistants have been a great help, and they love being the experts and helping the other kids. I’m starting to work on backing off a little bit from control and letting my assistants have a little more ownership of the lesson. They went through the same orientation with me a week ago, and have been using the iPads since, so they have more than enough knowledge to be able to run the activity. I had one assistant yesterday, Preston, who did a phenomenal job! Once I gave the class a brief overview of what we were going to be doing, I asked Preston if he would like to teach them how to turn on and navigate the iPads. He stepped right up and gave great directions. I could tell he was having a wonderful time, and the class was very engaged. When he wrapped up the introduction, I decided to give him the opportunity to teach the scavenger hunt lesson. He was more than willing to give it a try, and once again did a fantastic job! He explained the lesson to the students, stopping when needed to clarify or help a student having trouble. Once they began the activity, he was constantly in motion roaming the room to make sure the kids were on task and helping with any questions. I stayed in the background for the most part, ready to jump in if he needed help, but he never needed it! At the end of the class, he helped me wrap up the activity, put all the iPads away for me, and even answered the classroom teacher’s non-iPad related tech questions. It was a great experience for all of us. I am glad I was able to give up control of the lesson and let Preston shine, and I am very proud of him for stepping up and doing such an amazing job. It reminded me of how powerful peer teaching can be. I am hoping to keep this trend going with the rest of the rollout this week.