Friday, August 10, 2012

Classroom 20.0

When I began my career as a teacher, it was at a Christian school where resources were limited.  Watching the imagination of my students always amazed me in the simulations I ran (be it the election game, WWI, Civil War, Civilizations, etc.) as all we often had to work with was my scribbling on an overhead projector.  Sometimes there was a VCR.  I remember buying a CD-Rom on World War I and having students crowd around a small computer monitor to watch some clips.  That was how advanced technology was for me by 1999.

Fast forward to the upcoming school year for me.  The Superintendent and Board of Ed has approved for my classroom a set of 25 iPads.  I do have my Master's in Educational Technology and have regularly used a computer and Smartboard in my classroom for several years, but for the first time in my teaching career, I feel as if I am on the cutting edge of classroom technology and I do not want to lose the trust that my Superintendent and BoE has placed in me.  

As of now, my plan is to have an online textbook created for my students by the end of the summer (Maybe not the whole textbook but enough that I can stay ahead of my students.  WOW, I just realized, it will be as if I am a first year teacher all over again).  I am also investigating other uses for the iPad in the classroom.

That investigations begins tomorrow when I attend a conference for iPads in the classroom at Kean University.  I hope to get some ideas on how to best incorporate this new technology for the classroom. Most of this blog for the summer will be a diary of my journey.  

Up until now, except for the advancement of computer use, a student in my Christian school classroom in 1999 would see much of the same elements I used in their classroom as I used today (Review Basketball, despite some tweaks, is still a hit).  I don't believe there is anything wrong with that.  It's not as if I haven't introduced anything new.  Over 20 years I have perfected and grown comfortable with a certain style of teaching.

If I can get what I am imagining in my head to take place in the classroom with the use of iPads, students from my middle school class of 2011-2012 will not recognize the delivery, sequence, and flow of a daily lesson of 2012-2013.

Looking forward to changing things up! 

(disclaimer- I do NOT believe that technology is the panacea for the ills of education, however neither am I naive to believe that textbooks and notebooks will never be replaced in the classroom, and I am certain that reality is going to happen before I retire)


  1. Love this! My son Mark is in 7th advanced social studies - his favorite class! His teacher allows iPods for taking notes and the class has 5 iPods they share among the team. They use the app Evernote to take notes which is a fantastic tool. Check it out if you haven't already. Great for not only keeping notes in class but when a student is absent they can log in to see the group notes that were recorded that day. All classes allow the iPods for different things but I don't think they are used to their fullest potential quite yet. With one set of text books for each class, textbook access online now and the fact that his classes don't even use the textbook anymore due to the new CCS; technology in the class will not be an option or want it will be a need going forward.

  2. Thanks Joan! Hopefully my iPads will come in this week. I have heard of Evernote, but as with many of the apps I was introduced to at the conference I attended this summer, the challenge is how to implement their use in the classroom. I really like the idea of students in the class saving notes to Evernote for kids who are absent. Have to do that.

    P.S. Without ever meeting your son, I know he has to be cool. He loves Social Studies.