Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Teacher Week: Now Teach! Organizing for Instruction


Here are some organizational tips for teaching with technology.

1.  If you use mobile devices, change the lock screen or wall paper or both to show a number or name for each device.  On my teacher devices I also add my name, e-mail address and phone number on the lock screen.  Then if I lose it and an honest person finds it, they can still contact me even though the iPad is locked.

2.  On IOS devices, if you want a student to stay in a specific app, turn on restricted access in your setting->general menu.  Make sure to remember the password you set.  Then get the student into the app you want them to stay in.  Click the home button (the button with the square on it) three times and tell it to start restricted access.  The student won't be able to exit the app until you click the home button 3 times and put in the password you set.  This can also be used to restrict students from touching on certain parts of the screen (such as links to the internet).  I'll write a post on that another time.

3.  When planning to use technology for project based learning, it is always a good idea to help your students plan ahead before they use the technology.  For example, last year I taught my first graders to use this wonderful app called Tiny Tap.  I took several steps to help them be successful in creating their own tiny tap apps.  First, I showed them Tiny Tap and we looked at all the options and possibilities.  Then, we built a class version of a Tiny Tap app so they could see how it worked.  Next, we went to the non-tech portion.  I explained the parameters of the assignment:  they were to create their own app that had at least 5 different questions that reviewed something they learned in first grade (it was the end of the year).  After that, I modeled how to write a storyboard.  The students basically had to draw what they planned to put on the screen.  Students had to show me their storyboards with their plans before they got their hands on the devices.  They were very successful in building some great apps.  Many of them chose to add more questions to their apps once they finished the original 5 just because they liked it so much.  Finally, we rotated around the room and each child got to play every other child's game.  This can be done with almost any visual project you use with technology.

4.  Dropbox is the best thing ever.  If you don't have it and you work with mobile devices you should get it and learn to use it as soon as possible.  It's the easiest way I know to get things on and off of my iPad.

I'm sure there's a lot of other tech organizational ideas.  My brain is fried now after two days at my new job, so I'm going to stop there.  I hope this is helpful to at least some of you.


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