So your district decided to jump on the iPad bandwagon a few years ago, the shininess of the devices has worn off, and now you are trying to figure out how to use them in your classroom.
If you read my earlier blog post, Why Technology Workshops for Teachers are Really Necessary, from October 30th, 2015, you might remember my focus, not on the technology tool, but rather the shared emphasis on the content knowledge and pedagogy as well (TPACK: Technological, Pedagogical, and Content Knowledge) (Mishra & Koehler, 2006; Koehler & Mishra, 2008).
The iPad craze appealed to educators and districts because they were portable, intuitive, and could be put in the hands of every student. At the heart of this craze was the potential for the constructive approach to teaching and learning.
Unfortunately, many teachers and districts were ill-prepared on how to do this effectively.
How do you begin to create or reinvent effective iPad practices in your classroom? When you ask for iPad training, hopefully you mean you want ideas or lessons to help integrate the devices into your lessons.
If you are looking for training on how to set them up or personalize them, there are many YouTube resources available. If you are looking for lesson ideas, Kathy Schrock has a great webpage with several app suggestions for collaborating and creating with iPads.
Schrock is a great resource when it comes to anything tech related and you can find her lessons connected to Bloom’s and SAMR. As educators it is important to have lessons that are not only engaging and motivating for the students, but also connect the pedagogy to theory and research.
My colleagues and I found a lack of app evaluations that were connected to the research. This inspired us to create Research Based App Evaluation Rubrics. As you may know, you can’t simply download any old math app and give it to your students to try.
You have to vet it and be sure it is worth your time. When determining which applications to use with your students, consider using one of the rubrics on our website: Math, Special Education, Cross-Content, or a Student Rubric.
The purpose of these rubrics isn’t to find an app that meets all the criteria, but it is to simply determine whether the application you are selecting meets your pedagogical goals.
For instance, you may find that the Rocket Math App, meets expectations in Consumption, but the Collaboration criteria is not necessary. You would simply ignore that category on the rubric.
Additionally, it is critical that you teach your students to be objective when selecting apps for learning. That is why we created the student evaluation rubrics (Shaw, Hoffmann, & Hameister, 2014).
All in all, when using iPads for educational purposes, it not enough to put them in the hands of your students, but you must a little bit of the time, searching for potential apps, and then evaluating them based on your educational goals. It takes time, but the time spent in planning will be time saved in educational time.
There are still many great ways you can utilize your district’s iPads. Consider the resources mentioned earlier by Kathy Schrock and evaluate any new apps you may come across using the research-based app evaluation rubrics and you should will be set up for success.
Hoffmann, M. (2015). An exploratory study: Mobile device use for academics (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global database. (UMI No. 3685662)
Koehler, M. J., & Mishra, P. (2008). Handbook of technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK) for educators. New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group for the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.
Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9620.2006.00684.x
Shaw, K., Hoffmann, M., & Hameister, T. (2014). App evaluation. Retrieved from https://goo.gl/nhjlQ7