Fresh from a day’s training with Dragonfly – ‘The iPad in the Maths Classroom’ with Neil Atkin (@natkin), I was keen to try my first iPad lesson with top set Year 8 girls.
I say first lesson, we had actually used a previous lesson for familiarisation. Thanks to Neil for all the ideas!
- Ground rules. Starting each lesson closing all open apps and clearing the history. That way if you suspect anyone is messing around you can check to see if they have any apps open that they shouldn’t. I also warned them that misuse of the iPad would result in them losing the use of it for that lesson.
- Introduction to the various sites/apps we would use – Padlet, Socrative, QR codes, Educreations (including them setting up a free Educreations account).
- When I’m talking, iPads are on the desk with the covers closed.
In the main lesson itself I used one of Dan Meyer’s Three Act Math problems – The Domino Skyscraper in particular.
We used Padlet for students to pose an initial question, and to make their guesses about how many dominos they thought it would take to knock over the Empire State Building. I think next time I may use Socrative for this and then see which I prefer.
I then let them loose on Google and Educreations. Initially, I thought it would be nice if they researched the height of the Empire State building themselves, but inevitably a couple of them Googled ‘domino’ and ‘skyscraper’ and found the answer which somewhat spoiled it! Next time, give them the information they might need and they can stay off Google, methinks!
Problems? Well, time first and foremost. Many of them didn’t finish their Educreations video, and very few managed to send the link to me so I could see what they had done. And as the iPads are not their own, I’m now faced with starting the next lesson dishing out the iPads just so they can log in to Educreations and send me what they’ve done. Next time I will endeavor to make sure this is all done before the lesson end so I can review all their work before the next lesson, and show the best few next time.
Also, the girls are not all using Educreations to show the journey they took to the answer, but just giving their answer much like they would on a piece of paper. Hopefully, in time, they will use the technology to show their thoughts and how they got from A to B.
Once again, I am reaching the conclusion that iPads will not truly change the way I teach until the kids have their own iPad for use at school and at home.
PS. A slightly unforeseen problem when we were using Padlet – clearly some of the boys in a previous lesson (possibly a sexist assumption but I’m sticking to it) had created some shortcuts. One poor girl, whenever she typed in ‘the’, it was replaced by a string of expletives. And we were on Padlet at the time, which flashes up on everyone’s iPad in real time….well, you get the idea. (For the record, Settings>General>Keyboard will take you to shortcuts, then swipe to delete.)