Thanks to John Shepard for a recent article (from the Ivanhoe Times) on iPad use in the classroom in Lincoln County (Minnesota). The quick story, three motivated teachers wrote a grant to the Education Minnesota Foundation for Excellence to get six iPads for three classrooms (fourth, fifth and sixth grade). The goal is to help the kids learn to become proficient iPad users.
Their tiered approach to creating proficient users is worth noting:
In order to install the understanding of technology as a lifelong educational tool, the fourth, fifth and sixth grade students will be given instruction on how to navigate an iPad through modeling, peer collaboration and hands on discovery. After a period of exploration and practice, they will have a performance assessment to earn an iPad permit. The performance assessment to receive an iPad permit: the students will need to know how to turn the iPad on and off properly, using the teacher specified apps (i.e. dictionary, flash cards, math drills language arts), using the camera for still and video pictures, using publishing software and performing research online.
Next the students will work towards getting a ‘driver’s license’ to replace their ‘permit’. To obtain their ‘driver’s license’ they will have to perform the following ‘behind the wheel’ assessment. First the students will interview a classroom teacher in a lower grade to find out the needs of their students. From that interview they will use the iPad to find two or three apps that will be appropriate for that teacher’s class.
Once they have received approval of both teachers, they will then work with one or two students in a lower grade, guiding them through the apps chosen.
Upon the successful completion of this ‘behind the wheel’ experience, the students will have earned their ‘driver’s license.’ With their ‘driver’s license’ they will do self directed learning, called ‘drive time’ in the classroom, by choosing and using apps that will enhance their learning during designated times.
It’s a great description of how to get kids to go from good to great use of technology! Also the article went on to talk about how one of the same teachers brought her students to Camp Foley for some outdoor experiential learning – demonstrating that technology (like a camp) is just an educational tool – the teachers who work with the tools are key to learning.