Sunday, March 18, 2012

Tool # 8 - Taking a Look at the Tools

I'm really happy with the tools that we are getting in our classrooms. I have computers already because I have the READ 180 program for my students, but to have the iPads, the iTouch, and the netbooks will be a great asset. I own an iPad2 and an iPhone, so I already knew how to set up an iTunes account, both with and without a credit card attached, and I know how to sync to the computer. I was happy to learn about the database of approved apps that the district has and I learned how to find it. I also learned how to set a frequently used page to the home screen, which will be a blessing when my students get to start using the devices. :)
I haven't really used a netbook very much, but they aren't much different than a full-size laptop. I do like the webcam capabilities, and I did learn how to use those.
As for managing the devices... I will only have a few, so I will probably set up a very visible station for them to be kept at during the day. I'm thinking that each period will have a technology person assigned to assist with any issues and to verify that all equipment is back in the station at the end of the period. My students will need very clear cut rules about access, maintenance, and usage. They will also need to understand that there are consequences if they abuse the technology rules.
Throughout 11 Tools it has been said “devices that will be in your classroom this fall”, and I think it will probably be fall before there is much activity with these devices, It isn't that I don't want to jump in with both feet immediately, but there is the need to research appropriate apps and get them loaded. There is the need to teach the students the correct procedures, behaviors, and expectations for use. Most of all, quite frankly, the clock is running down for this school year, especially when taking into account the testing schedule that is coming up. Over the summer, I hope to find appropriate apps and have a unit ready for appropriate use of the devices and digital citizenship that will be taught in the first two weeks of the new school year. There will be some usage this year, but since I don't even have everything yet... no promises as to how much. :)

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