If there is any common bond that I have noticed in 2013 is that there has been a proliferation of districts making the commitment to learning with tablets. It doesn’t matter the type of device as much as the willingness to get learning into the hands of the students. Although early adopters have been testing 1:1 initiatives, there seems to be a tipping point now in education that looks to the tablet or laptop in students’ hands not as a novelty, but as a necessity. In just the past three months, I have been a part of numerous device initiatives. It seems that this school year when I ask teachers if they have a way to get technology into the hands of their students, I have heard a great variety of solutions: iPads, Chromebooks, Kindle Fire’s, BYOD (Bring Your Own Devices) and more. What was just a pipe dream for so many districts, is becoming reality. The good news is that there are tons of resources and experiences to learn from, but without a doubt, I am happy to come back to Kathy Schrock as the most solid source of EVERYTHING! This “tuesdays” is designed to be an encouragement to those who have a digital initiative and to those who are so close to having one.
A creative website
It does not matter to me what device you choose to use, what is most important is knowing that teaching with devices is a whole new world. My favorite quote is from Chris Cabrera at Conchita Espinosa Academy – “We are now a community of learners.” Teaching and learning are synonymous in a device rich classroom. Typically on “tuesdays” I only highlight one creative website, so to be true to my pattern, I want to spend time specifically with my favorite expert – Kathy Schrock. I have watched Kathy with great awe over the last 15 years. She’s an expert who is down-to-earth, funny and super eager to learn and share. I always thought, “I want to be Kathy Schrock when I grow up!” I have no idea how she keeps up with trends and technologies in education, but I am sure glad she does. Her main website, Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything,
Is packed with EVERYTHING – she’s not kidding. Look at some of these topics: App for That, Assessment and Rubrics, Concept Mapping, Creating a PLN, Digital Storytelling, Intellectual Property, Literacy, 60 Tech Tips in 60 Minutes and that’s just to mention a few. Go visit her site, it’s amazing and of course, check out her iPads in the Classroom section. As if keeping up with such a vast website is not enough, she hosts a monthly “best of the month” on Kathy’s Katch of the Month and writes a current and most interesting blog at Kathy Schrock’s KaffeeKlatsch. Her credentials are very impressive and VERY interesting. I have no idea how she get’s it all in! Thank you Kathy for all that you do for educators everywhere.
An image to share
6th grade student using her tablet in Math class
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. – Mahatma Gandhi
If you are blessed enough to have a mobile device initiative in your classroom, treasure it! One thing I would like you to consider is breaking away from the 1:1 setting from time to time. It must sound strange that if you have the capability to have every student on a device that I would propose that you work in groups or in a 2:1 setting, but there is real value in being purposely collaborative. When a student is on a device all day long, it begins to lose its “wow” factor and they tend to be more isolated. Students in a 2:1 initiative have the advantage of explanation, cooperation, and interaction. Having stations or centers in the classroom also gives the students a chance to work more collaboratively without the need for each student to have a device in hand.
If you do not have a 1:1 device classroom, be creative at sharing the laptop or device cart that your school may have. If there are 30 devices on the cart, split it with three other teachers and only use 10 of them. Students quickly learn to share and get more engaged in the lesson when there is a device included. Even if you only had 3 devices in the room, don’t forget that your projector hooked to a computer can be a student station also. The important part is to mix-up the learning environment so that it is a fresh, innovative platform for being “a community of learners.”
How do you do that?
How do you make the time to consume a vast website like Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything? One bite at a time! Take a glimpse at the topics along the left side of her website and try to look at one a week. Tonight I chose her 60 Tips in 60 minutes to examine and only got a few down the list and was blown away by some hidden iPad keyboard tips I never knew. There is so much to learn and no one can really keep up, but isn’t it great to know that Kathy’s out there to catalog and share EVERYTHING she comes across? The good news is that she has SO much. The bad news is that she has SO much. Don’t feel overwhelmed. Revisit time after time and take in her wealth of information incrementally. You’ll be glad you did.
As always, I am