Okay so I have had a pod of Ipads in my classroom now since September. The pod consists of 2 ipads which are mine and stay in my room and 3 ipads that are the "actual school pod" that I share with a grade two classroom. I get the ipads in the afternoons and she gets them in the morning. They stay in my class charging overnight and students deliver of pick up the ipads each day.
- 5 ipads allows for a literacy or math center - I use them during my guided reading time.
- I teach how to use all the new apps in my monthly folder at the beginning of the month so when kids are working and I allow for free app choice, they know how to use them.
- I set them all up the same and I generally dictate which app they are allowed to use.
- It makes a great free time tool especially at the end of the day - free time playing math or spelling:)
- I have set up profiles for each child, the ipads are color coded and they know which color to fin their profile on. I can track their progress in some of the apps we use.
- We've had the opportunity to read app books during guided reading time because we have enough ipads for each child - cool!
- It is a lot of work!
- It takes time to update the folders each month and to keep the ipads all looking the same especially when the ipads are shared between 2 rooms. Sharing between even more rooms could be a nightmare in my opinion. I never seem to have the ipads when I have a spare so I am generally setting them up after school. I must confess, its December 9 and the black ipad STILL does not have a December folder on it:(
- Getting all the same apps on the ipads also takes time. I know there are setting to download onto all etc, but we have multiple ipads linked and if you turn that on, you never know what you will get (apparently that is changing in the near future anyway)
- Cleaning them
- Keeping the them charged
Now some of those things might sound silly, and maybe they are but they certainly are some of the cons. Do I still want a pod - you bet! However, I am an apple user comfortable with the technology. I began with just one ipad and learned the tricks. I used it in my classroom and did a few cool interactive projects and taught the kids some skills. Then I set up a schedule so they could each get a turn to "play" themselves. After a year of that I felt ready for the pod. My pod time is coming to an end in January. And so now another con is clearing it all off. Off go the photos, the pictello books and projects, off go the drawings and likely even some of my primary apps (depends who gets it next).
My suggestions to the new pod users:
- You have to teach how to use and respect the pod. You are not wasting time if you take the time to do this. Kids need to know how to carry them, how to turn them on and off, how to store them and put them back on a charger. They need to know how to find the apps and to not bang on the screen. All of these things we take for granted, they must be taught.
- Choose a time that you are going to use the pod and figure out a rotation so everyone eventually gets a turn. Not all of mine used it everyday.
- Choose one or two apps to focus on, teach them and go from there. Use these apps to reinforce basic skills while having some fun (spelling city, math bingo, mathletics, monkey word school, monkey math, jungle bingo, letter school etc.)
- Find a cool project that the whole class can do so they can collaborate and offer each other feed back. there are some great ideas in some of my other posts and some of the blogs I link to. (Pictello books, Story Creater, Image Chef, Voice Thread, Toontastic, Strip Designer, iMovie... to name a few)
- HAVE FUN!!!