Friday, June 26, 2009

Using iTouch to teach 5th grade

Our design for implementation has three basic parts:

  • use of the iTouch as a classroom resource

  • creation of podcasts to share what we learn with others

  • and mentoring younger students to cement our learning by teaching it to someone else.

After teaching students about how to operate the iTouch device, we will begin to integrate some of the apps into our daily lessons. For example, the use of a class blog, through WordPress, to post assignments based on book club readings. Students will continue to meet in traditional level or interest based book clubs, but we will add the technology element by using a blog for the assignment format. This is one way students from all 3 sections of our fifth grade will be able to interact with each other, even though they are not in the same homeroom.

Another way we see using technology to further student's engagement and skills, is to set up ways to podcast information to share with others. Students will be able to record audio podcasts with a microphone accessory for the iTouch. Students will also have access to iFlip video cameras to create video podcasts. Teachers would demonstrate how to upload these files to the class blog or other site to share with our school, as well as others. Science and Social Studies topics, as well as book reviews are possible uses for podcasting in the classroom.

Lastly, we believe that "Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.”(Aristotle). Our students will use the iTouch to teach reading, science, and math concepts to younger students thorugh a mentoring project. This aspect of our approach will allow all students success in using what they learn on a daily basis to help another student. Apps such as planetFacts will allow fifth graders to talk to third graders about the topics they are both learning about. Math Dr. Lite will be used to tutor students on math facts in a fun and interactive way. Plus there are many site word and vocabulary flashcard apps for students to develop and use.

We are looking forward to implementing these ideas and many more during this school year. Please come back often to see what we have tried!

iTeach, therefore i am

Picture a room full of ten year olds sitting at desks using iTouches, with their teacher watching in approval. These students are not playing, aimlessly surfing the web, or texting their friends. They are utilizing the iTouch applications (apps) to become engaged in the discussion and learning taking place. This is definitely not your typical classroom, however it is one I believe we will see more of in the near future.
Technology needs to change from a removed, once-in-awhile resource to something that is always accessible, at students’ fingertips, whenever they need it to assist in their understanding. Whereas laptop computers and netbooks require booting up and logging on, an iTouch is “powered up” by a mere touch of a button and a swipe of the screen. And unlike the laptop, which takes up the entire desktop, an iTouch can sit on the corner of the desk without interfering with the other items a student needs during the day.
With the increased use of WiFi connections in schools, the iTouch can easily access the internet, even though most applications do not require it. It is an immediate resource to use in teachable moments which enables students to find the answers to their questions immediately! In this way, students won’t have to remember their question and discover the answer at home on their own time. With the use of the iTouch, students can search and find the answers to many of their curious questions stemming from the topics their teachers introduce to them in class.
The iTouch does not replace anything in the classroom. It adds a resource to the students’ arsenal which allows them to be excited and engaged in their education. Students will look forward to finding out what new app they will utilize to further their studies, and forget that at one time all they thought an iTouch was used for was games and texting!