Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Teaching K in a 1:1 tech district

Part of my reason to hold off blogging til I got settled in my new position is because I transitioned to a 1:1 technology district.

Yes, ALL of my kids have an iPad which they take home daily.

AND we are 83% low income, 37% English Language Learner. WHAT?! It's pretty incredible to put technology in the hands of little ones who otherwise may or may not have the resources to get it.

But there is a catch - you have to use this gift the right way so that it isn't a distractor or bandaid. Enter the SAMR model which is not always easy to incorporate in K.  If you don't really have a goal for the technology, then it isn't really that beneficial.

So, how do I use iPads beyond apps?
I will post about this journey often, so stay tuned.

1. Organize each student's iPad so that the apps you want most accessible are at the bottom.
They will click what they see, so if you want your kiddos to do homework on Showbie each night, have it on the front screen. Teach the kiddos to do this - they can!

2. Turn off Safari!
This saves you from a lot of inappropriate use and abuse. Go into Settings > General > Restrictions > enter password (use same the one for all iPads) > slide buttons for what to allow and not allow.  I turn off Safari, iTunes Store, In-App Purchases, Siri, Face Time, and Deleting Apps.

3. "But wait, now my kids can't access the internet." Not true! They still can. Download QR reader
Download a QR Reader app. Now anything you want them to have internet access to they can through QR code.  I.e. I make a QR code for any web quest activity I want them to do or youtube videos for my listening centers. The website is able to open up through the QR Reader app, but does not allow them to surf the web. It's the perfect fix!

4. Download a classroom platform/course management system
I use Showbie for this, which I will blog on next week. Some of the upper grade teachers use Schoology.

5. Hide all the things the kiddos don't need.
Put all the apps (iTunes, Settings, Newsstand, Maps, Music, etc) that you don't need the kids to use into a folder.  I label this "Apple" because it is all the Apple apps that we don't need daily.

This way of organizing the iPads has made my life SO much easier and the iPads much more useful for the parents and kids. Next week I will write more about the benefits of an classroom platform/course management system.

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