December 1, 2010

iPad Integration

Much like when students first get hold of manipulatives, I would initially encourage my students to play around with the iPad. I recently registered both 704 and 705 on Engrade and provided each student with an e-mail address (First Name + Last Initial To get comfortable with how the technology works, I plan on asking students to check their e-mail and their grades on Engrade to show me that they understand how the machine works.

Once they have completed this 2-3 minute introduction to the machine, the first App I want them to use would be "Math Sheet". "Math Sheet" is very user friendly calculator that can be used in several different ways:

1. Computation
(struggling learners may understand the concept but need help with math facts)
2. Accuracy
(students can use it to check their answers; it even follows order of operations)

The hope is that students can turn to the calculator when they get stuck on a computation issue.

On the other hand, I still believe students should memorize their math facts. That is why I also plan on using "ArithmeTick" and "FlashToPass" for students who are finished with the classwork and may need to bone up on their math facts. "ArithmeTick" is an operations (+, -, x, / ) game where the player is racing against a clock while they perform an operation: a correct answer gains points and added time while a wrong answer speeds up the countdown. "FlashToPass" is more of an electronic flashcard but can also be used as a competition between two students (i.e. the use of two iPads simultaneously or one after the other). Students can vie for the highest score in any operation and at different levels of difficulty.

My classes are about to start the Geometry Unit involving surface area and volume. I bought "Geo Helper" ($0.99) as a reference guide for students. The program shows a picture of a given shape and can also calculate area, perimeter, etc. if students provide the dimensions of a specific shape. Like the "Math Sheet", I plan on using this function as a way to let students check for accuracy. While the program is a good reference guide, I am somewhat disappointed that it did not include any practice problems for students. I am still looking for a Geometry App that will provide students with some practice.

Inside the Classroom
I have not targeted a specific group of students for iPad use. On any given day, the iPad can be used as a tool for differentiation. During individual work, I usually expect the whole class to complete a basic set of problems called Station 1. After students have completed this work accurately, I will try to differentiate the lesson with the iPad. For example, several students who struggle with their math facts can benefit from using programs such as "ArithmeTick" and "FlashToPass". Students who don't need the remedial work will continue to work on a more complicated set of problems related to the day's AIM.

I plan on rotating iPad use so that my low, mid, and high students get a chance to use the technology. Of course, this requires a little more planning on my part to find an appropriate activity for the student(s)' level. In this way, I plan on taking advantage of the browsing capability of the iPad to use it as a handheld computer with endless potential because of the web.

I plan on keeping the same routine in my class: Do Now, Mini-Lesson, Independent Work with breaks in between to show examples and/or reteach material students are having trouble with. I will set up students with the iPad during the independent work portion of the lesson. Students using the iPad must have completed Station 1 of the independent work first to ensure that they have understood the specific concept taught that day.

iPad usage should be seen as a privilege and therefore, comes with certain responsibilities. Students should take care of the machine, understanding that they must be willing to share it with another classmate. During the "ArithmeTick" or "FlashToPass" games, two students can be working with the iPad (one at a time). While a student waits his/her turn, he/she can continue on Station 2 of the classwork. After that student finishes their turn, he/she should keep score in their notebook (to be checked by myself) of how many points they scored. I will then ask students to write at least one positive and one negative feedback about using the iPad. They can complete several rounds during the independent work time.

I plan on using this student feedback and my own observations to assess how well the iPad worked in class.

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