So often I feel we overlook robust, well-written, reliable apps for ones that have more pizazz. As we move further in to this iPad initiative I am realizing more and more that there are really only a few apps I truly depend on: Keynote, Google Drive, Pages, Subtext, eBackPack, iFiles, Evernote, DocAs and Numbers.
At school I was not a lover of math. I preferred to sing, dance and write stories. There was one part of math, however, that captured my attention: spreadsheets. Perhaps it was their ability to compute for me that got me going but I have enjoyed having my math affair with =sum(g5-g8) etc. That is why I love Numbers.
Now to others, I accept, this app might be kind of boring. It's not super pretty to look at; it's not colorful; it doesn't make noise. It's quiet. And quiet apps are not as appealing to some.
They are, however, extremely appealing to a fourth grade class at Forest Trail Elementary. Chris Lofgren and his students have consistently embraced Numbers for the very reasons some don't: Its simplicity. His classroom have used it as a way to chart 'noticings' while reading. Simple, yet a great way to organize thinking. They have also been using it to chart moon and tide phases as part of their science investigations.
Mr. Lofgren created a template for students and over a 5 week period they note down the high tides and the moon phases. They then look for correlations between the two and plan to display their understanding of a science concept through iBook Author; inserting their Numbers spreadsheet as evidence of their learning. Want to know more? Simply download Numbers on your iPad or Mac and get to work. Have fun!
Click here for more details on this unit designed for fifth grade students.
The 21st Century Learner
A fourth grade teacher came to me in tears one day about her frustrations with technology. Her concerns were justified and we talked at length. The more we talked the more I started to smile. I thought, I know how to solve her frustrations and, better still, enhance her experiences.
It all centered around an app called 'Google Drive'. As a district we have been using Google Apps for Education (GAFE) for a few years. Students are issued a Gmail account when they are registered, and it is used for various purposes related to the instructional goals of the teacher, and the individual needs of the learner.
Google Drive is something teachers are fairly comfortable with: they use it to share documents with each other; they fill out forms online, and have a general sense of its function and flow. One step they sometimes miss is that they can use the Google Drive app, directly on the iPads, to collaborate with their students.
Fourth Grade is a big year for writing. Teachers spend time building engaging writing curriculum ,and attempt to help students feel more comfortable with the writing process. Peer editing is a big part of this, and what better tool to use than GOOGLE DRIVE!
So, we opened their pages document; copied and pasted the text in to a Google Document. We shared it with the teacher (giving her full editing rights), then shared it with a editing buddy (allowing commenting only). We then sat and watched...
THE ROOM COME ALIVE!
It was an incredible scene. The students were quite literally buzzing. And the teacher? Glowing! Positively transformed by the experience. Nothing can beat that look. Thanks Ms. Bailey for letting me be a part of it!
Some of Forest Trail Elementary's tech leaders attended and presented at #TCEA14. The process started back in May when I reflected on the teacher feedback from past TCEA conferences. Many teachers felt that they didn't learn anything new, and that, indeed, they should be the ones up there presenting! Well, let's do this!
I spoke to a few teachers about the prospect of presenting and Cody, Chris, and Jamie agreed to put proposals together. We arranged half day sub time and took off to Mozart's for some coffee and inspiration.
After several hours we agreed on three proposals:
We received news in July that 2 of our three presentations has been accepted. How exciting!