My first experience of the iPads in the classroom with students!

My first experience of the iPads in the classroom with students!

Today I used the iPads for the very first time with students! It was my Year 7 English class. I was starting a new topic of superheroes/narrative writing and decided to use Padlet as a starter activity where each student could add who was their favourite villain or hero. Here is what they did:

I was teaching in SS17 and we discovered within the first few minutes of class that this was an internet ‘cold spot’ and that the wireless didn’t pick up on about 17 of the iPads and the technician had to go around and manually change that which meant I had to abandon the idea of it being a starter activity.

So I went to show a power point that I had created and then…power cut!

So no internet and no projector…it wasn’t going to plan!

So then I resorted to good old pen and paper and a brainstorming activity. Power was restored and powerpoint became available. Meanwhile, the very patient technician managed to get internet on all the iPads. The students really liked Padlet and were totally engaged with it. Any students not knowing what to do were able to either ask someone else on their table or solve it themselves within a few minutes. I think that as they become more familiar with it, the little issues they have will iron out quite quickly. The beauty of the iPad is that its quite instinctive.  I realized I didn’t need to be the expert.

I was so grateful for the kids being well behaved whilst technology hadn’t been that I decided to let them play a game. I think I also needed a brief time out! They used the Wooords App and within seconds the whole class were engrossed! A student who doesn’t normally do well in her spelling managed to work out the nine letter word and so I gave her a merit…the kids all really enjoyed playing the game and were really on task. I limited the game play to just four-five minutes and this was a perfect amount of time.

Then, back to pen, paper and Power Point, they started to fill in a chart in their books about superheroes. The students asked if they could use the iPads for Google to find images or facts about their superheroes. I hadn’t planned it but could see the advantage and so they did and all students produced quite a lot of writing.

This is what I learnt from today:

  • Have a back-up activity to hand
  • Stay calm- it’s only an iPad!
  • With Padlet, if showing the created wall to the class via the IWB, it is better to choose the stream layout from the ‘Modify this wall’ cog rather than ‘freeform’ as all the comments get stuck on top of each other
  • Know a few non-internet required apps that you can resort to for subject related game play whilst you work out what to do next!

So next time, I’m going to try and get students to access higher order thinking/Blooms Taxonomy by creating a superhero comic or book using one of the apps…but I won’t be doing it in SS17!

Photos of the experience can be found on S:\Departments Folder\BRITISH\English British Section\WIRED\ipad with Y7G


One comment

  1. joellebugeia · · Reply

    Bravo! Jenny! I used as well now many times the Ipad in class. And you are right it is good to have a backup plan. Students love puppet pal. I am now going to use puppet pal 2 after your advice. It is much better: you can see people talking, you can use props and you can also add sound!
    Thank you for your advice re padlet. I will use the option ‘Modify the wall”. I was wondering which option to teach for the Ipad teachers’training. I will use this one. I gives you more lead-ways.

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