Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Innovative teaching with iPads

Today’s post, by Ferdinand Krauss (@eLearnDiscourse ), is a summary of his observations of my students working with iPads in my classroom.

I had a chance to observe a colleague that used innovative teaching methods and the toontastic iPad app to engage grade 2 students in the task of creating a story retell about the challenges they faced in preparation for their first communion. Students were divided into groups of 4 or 5 and worked together on the iPad to represent a challenge they encountered. These ideas had previously been brainstormed with the class so that each group could spend their time creating animations for a particular situation, as opposed to identifying a challenge. When the project started the teacher gave the students an overview of the features of the toontastic app and the class co-created the success criteria for the animations.

As I walked around to the different groups, I asked the students what steps they took when they did not know how to do something. Their approach to figuring out how to do something was very playful in nature. They just started trying different things to see what effects were created.

The teacher's approach was similar to the flipped classroom model example. The students were empowered to direct their own learning by finding creative and different ways to express what they knew about a topic or situation. This is why I refer to it as innovative teaching because typically the teacher would be the one directing the process as opposed to facilitating it. 

When you look at the teacher's blog you can see that the iterative process documented by the educator. He recognizes that he needs to reflect on how to best facilitate the process given the specific needs and abilities of the learners with respect to the desired outcomes. 

The teacher referred to success criteria when reviewing the group animations. It gave him an opportunity to provide formative feedback so students know what and how they can improve by referring back to specific items in the success criteria that the class created. This also improves the meta cognition of students as they are becoming more aware of what constitutes a good story re-tell and what they need to do in their animations to meet that criteria.

Ferdinand Krauss, OCT, MDE, is the e-Learning Contact Support Teacher for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. You can find him on Twitter (@eLearnDiscourse ) and reach him through his Blog.

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