Friday, March 16, 2012

iPad Integration by Chris Grattoni

The most thought-provoking breakout session I attended at the ICE Conference on Friday, March 2nd was entitled "iPad Integration." The presenters used this time to outline a variety of apps that can be used to facilitate learning in the 1-to-1 classroom.

Perhaps the most enticing was the eClicker Response System. This app is reminiscent of the CPS clicker remotes that many of us have used in our classrooms. However, having this system on a 1-to-1 device overcomes the main challenge of the CPS remotes: the logistics of handing out 32 remotes to your students and tracking who has which remote. Now the students will come into class with their remote, and we will know how each individual student responds. Teachers can gather formative assessment data throughout their lessons and identify individual student who need additional help. The students get immediate feedback on how well they understand the material.

Next, the presenters showed us two apps that students or teachers can use to record their voices over content written on a digital whiteboard: Chomp and Show Me. In a math classroom, we could have the students record their explanation of a homework problem or a summary of an important mathematical idea! If they uploaded the video to a Moodle or Sharepoint page for the course, the teacher could use the videos to assess the students' learning, while students could watch the videos of their peers to assist with their own learning.

There were many other apps we looked at during this session, but the next one that really got me excited was Stick Pick. This app is just like the jar of Popsicle sticks that teachers used to keep on their desk so they could call on students in a truly random manner. But Stick Pick goes one step further! You can use the app to record whether the student you called on gave a correct answer, and you can use the app to give you question prompts that use Bloom's Taxonomy.

Finally, one of the session attendees told me about GoodReader, which can be used to ink on PDF documents. We will need an app like this in a math classroom if we want to go truly paperless in the course. Another person sitting next to me told me about some apps out there that allow easy tablet access to Moodle.

I was very impressed not just at the knowledge of the presenters at the ICE conference, but at the passion and knowledge of those attending. I was learning between sessions as well as during them.

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