Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Magic of iPad Creativity in First Grade

I had meant to blog more regularly from the start of the school year but it seems like the days have slipped by and we are more than a month into the school year. Last year, I took on a new job as Educational Technology TOSA at an elementary site. Challenging, exciting, anxious, lots of things rolled in one school year. Conducting teacher surveys on their use of iPads, trying to get creativity done with iPads, etc.

Net result: one of the kindergarten teachers used Doodlecast Pro very regularly with her students - sometimes once a week. The other teacher did not use it as often but regularly enough with Toontastic and other creation apps, that the students were not camera shy nor apprehensive about recording themselves explaining concepts, narrating stories and more.

Fast forward to this year. I started working regularly with the same set of students, now in first grade. Amazing absorption and retention of knowledge. The students not only remembered the name of the application - Doodlecast Pro - they had no problems remembering that they could change colors, change the thickness of the pen, and more. Which meant that instead of spending a lesson on just playing around with the app, they could get on with working on the task at hand. And boy, did they get on with it, knowing exactly what to record, when to record, what to say, what to draw.

What inspired my post today was because I got questions such as the following from these little six year olds: An EL student who otherwise struggles academically with so much: "I messed up at this point. Can I re-record my Math story?" Another one: "I have a two second recording. I don't want it. How can I erase it?" And another: "Can I make another Math Story?" And so many more snippets, it is hard to remember them all. What I do remember is: The students love creating, they love recording and listening to their voices, they are proud of this work, they want to do more, they want to do better, they look forward to Math as a result of this activity and they continue to strive to improvise on their work, all through non-prompted self-reflection.

Oh, the magic of the iPads....