Rhys Daunic of The Media Spot presented a short documentary video, Elementary in the Cloud (top left), on cloud-based iPad integration at the NYCDOE Division of Instructional & Information Technology School Technology Summit on July 31st. The video is part of a video series collaborated on with Principal Angela O'Dowd to document the transition to the Common Core at The Chester Park Elementary School (PS 62) in Queens.
iPad Experiments at PS 62
In the spring of the 2011-2012 school year PS 62 had 3 technology cluster teachers pushing carts of iPads into select grade 1-5 classrooms to incorporate digital production activities into Common Core-based units of study. This was successful in that students were engaged, able to complete a variety of productions (see left), and teachers felt that the apps and activities added value to the learning experiences and supported standards.
However, over the first half of the 2012-2013 school year, Ms. O'Dowd saw a lack of circulation of the iPad carts. PS 62 has a robust technology integration program, with a well-established history of curriculum-based K-5 digital student production using rolling laptop carts. The technology teachers suggested that the transformative potential of the iPads was the ease of use as research tools, text consumption and annotation, and math practice, and not necessarily as a replacement for the video and presentation projects students had been doing on the laptops. Ms. O'Dowd's sees the potential for "engaging students, individualizing for students, the social aspect for students and then the professional value of cloud computing for teachers and administrators especially in this new 'teacher effectiveness' era."
Distinguishing iPads from Laptops through a 1-to-1 Pilot
To establish new routines for iPad use at 62, I helped the 5th grade technology teacher and set up a one-to-one pilot program in a 5th grade classroom. Class 302 has one special ed, and one general ed teacher. Their objective was to provide flexible programming to special needs students through the establishment of daily routine student use of the devices.
Cloud Collaboration & Interactive Multimedia Texts
Rather than evaluate stand-alone "gamified" academic apps, we focused on processes that allowed interactive engagement with various forms of digital texts, for example, digitized PDF math worksheets with options for students to show work in a variety of ways. Everything students created had to be able to be posted back to their cloud-based Google Apps accounts, or linked to their class Edmodo group for teacher or peer evaluation (see the video for more specific examples).
- Connect students and teachers to cloud-based resources
- Allow teachers easy access to iPads and cloud-based student work to allow more options for feedback on and looking at student work
- Provide students with multiple access points for various traditional and non-traditional texts
- Evaluate the iPad effect on student engagement (especially special needs kids)
- Document best practices on video in efforts to share and establish school-wide goals for mobile student devices
Primary Apps Used
- Google Drive: File sharing -- Every student had a folder shared with both teachers for all finished work or works in progress with feedback; teachers pushed documents to students via content-area folders shared with the whole class
- Edmodo: Discussion & Assisgnments -- Teachers post assignments or discussion questions & give feedback on student work; students post reflections and give teachers feedback on assignments & Apps
- GoodNotes, ShowMe & Explain Everything: Annotation of texts & showing their work -- students download texts from Google Drive, or capture texts through the camera or from online, and highlight, annotate, chunk, etc. Students also work directly on PDF-based digital assignments (i.e. math problems); teachers collect annotated work via uploads to Google Drive & work directly with students
- iBooks: Text coding & collaborative notetaking on shared digital books
- Hungry Fish Math Games: Academic game playing
Starting next year, Class 302 will continue the pilot, deepening best practices along with classroom routines from day 1. Ms. Rudolph, one of the teachers explained, "One thing I want to focus on next year is giving more feedback next year -- (this year) I was focused on making up assignments with the different apps." Mr. Malchow, the special ed teacher in 302, would like to use the cloud to interact more with parents. Both teachers efforts and experiences will continue to be shared with the rest of the staff at PS 62 through in-house PD.