The iPad Effect: A Top-10 List
It’s only been a few months, but I’ve already noticed some drastic changes in our classroom when the iPads roll in…. I’ve labeled these Top-10 phenomena as being The iPad Effect, as they seem to occur every Tuesday and Thursday….
1. Fewer Water Bubbler Visits
Days when there are no iPads in the classroom, students seem to ask to leave to hydrate at the bubbler far more often than they do when the iPads ARE in the classroom. I’m doubting there is a direct link between Thirst and iPaddling, but I can say that students are “thirstier” when their focus is interrupted…
2. Fewer Restroom Visits
We try to time our bathroom visits with regular breaks in our routine. This rule is followed far more on days when the iPads are here in the room.
3. Fewer Nurse Visits
Seems that iPads are the latest cure for stomachaches, headaches, hang-nails, sore arms and legs and boo-boos. Who knew??
4. “Can I do an extra problem?”
I can say with confidence, during my eight years of teaching, I seldom have had students ask to do MORE work than what is required. When the iPads roll in, it seems Extra Work is on the menu! I have several students ask each day if they can do more than what is expected of them. Bravo!!
5. Increased Focus
In a room full of students recording their voices, and playing them back, you would think that focusing would be more difficult. The opposite is true! I’ve seen sharper focus among all students on iPad days, even though the room has more activity going on.
6. Getting to Work FASTER!
Face it. Usually when directions are given for a new assignment, it often takes a classroom full of students a good amount of time before everyone is on-task and hard at work. On iPad days, the amount of time it takes before students are settled in with their assignments is no longer delayed. Our Time on Learning is extended in all subjects, no longer lost to Transition Time.
7. Better Behavior Choices
Students who are off-target in their behavior risk missing out on part of their iPad time. Yellow Cards are almost non-existent on tech days, as students are more responsible and make better behavior choices.
8. Clearer Communication
Speaking in full sentences is always a goal in Room 204. When using the iPads (particularly when recording a narration of any sort), students are more apt to communicate more clearly and effectively. When asking questions, or clarifying directions, students are using appropriate vocabulary, and more complete sentences. The better speakers we become, the more our writing will reflect those valuable skills!
9. Increased Engagement
Having the iPads available to us so often has made a significant difference in student engagement. Students in Room 204 have amazing ideas and suggestions, and creative ways of solving problems and sharing expertise. They are more engaged in their learning, and are willing to share their knowledge with others. Engagement Matters!!
10. Clearer Assessment
Some of these iPad Effects sneak up on me and surprise me in wonderful ways. I had no idea that assessing my students would be much easier using the iPads. When I collect a pile of papers, or grade a stack of journals, or read through a bunch of personal narratives, I am unable to hear student insight. By recording their lessons orally and in writing, students are revealing their thought process. I am gaining a clearer understanding of what they know, what might need some clarification, and what needs re-teaching.
If learning to mastery is the ultimate goal, then I am finding iPads to be an effective tool to help students get there. Though digital solutions aren’t always the best fit in every situation, there are many ways to enhance and deepen both learning and understanding through the use of technology. I can only imagine how amazing school can be once I *really* get the hang of these buggers!! As always, stay tuned!!!