Class iPads – a new challenge

As if I don’t have enough on my hands with a new age group (yes, this year I am teaching 16-18 ESOL. Gulp), and two new curriculum (it’s no ordinary ESOL- if such a thing exists – I’m teaching PSD and IT. Double Gulp) I am going for broke and want to trial using iPads in the classroom.

Being a bit of an iPad fan (s0 much of my professional development revolves around the ease of acccess to my fabulous PLN through my device) I very much see iPads as personal devices. So I have been very reluctant to consider using them in the classroom.

All that is to change this year. This year I am part of a community of practice with an amazing group of tutors who are all interested in experimenting with using iPads with their students.

Monday will be my first go. Here is my idea.

The main task is for students to create a Word document showing at least 5 different currencies and how these currencies compare to the pound. Lots of transferable skills between the Internet, Word and Excel.

I will use the iPads as a lead-in/context setting activity. I will give the students the different values in two different currencies. eg 150 Hungarian Forints and 253 Pakistani Rupee.  First they use a currency convertor to find out then use Socrative to answer.

I need to think about how to scaffold the activity. Maybe I will ask some true/false questions first. Something like ‘In China they use the Yuan’ to get used to Socrative. Then I will give them a currency question to check and answer.

I could do this activity without the iPads. I could ask questions, get them to vote and then all check the answer together on the Teacher PC. I could use individual/group laptops and go to the Socrative website for the votes.

What advantage is there to using the iPad?

  1. Speed. No lengthy log in to laptops/PCs. As a warmer activity it should get their attention and focus on the topic rather than the cumbersome technology.
  2. Portability. The device is easily shared within a group and could stop a single student dominating (the mouse)
  3. Classroom Management. Students will not be hidden behind a laptop screen. I will easily be able to scan the room to check everyone is on task.
  4. Build Peer Support. By getting students to check their own predictions in teams this allows students an aspect of independence from the teacher and they can work at their own pace to problem solve.

At the end of the class I may use the iPads again. I was thinking about asking them to make a short (30/60sec) video showing the work they have done in class today. They won’t have to video themselves, but they will talk about their work. I would be interested to see how they feel about making a video, if they are happy for these to go onto the Teacher Ed You Tube site and what they say about the lesson.

Again, this task is nothing that I couldn’t do with a video camera, eg a flip. But the iPad makes uploading to You Tube so much more convenient and it will link to the discussion we will have in class about social media, use of user names and keep safe online.

Fingers crossed.


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