Monday, September 15, 2014

2nd Grade Literacy and iPads

      I met with a 2nd grade group last week who wanted to get some ideas on using their classroom set of iPads to promote higher-level thinking when it came to vocabulary.  I gave them a couple of options based on some philosophies that I have when it comes to tech integration:

1) The tech should be used to enable and enrich critical thinking skills, collaboration, complex communication, and/or creativity.

2) The iPad is best used to create an experience that cannot be replicated on paper (or other "analog" tools) and redefines the lesson plan into something they could only do with technology.

Here's what we came up with:

Option 1: Educreations, ShowMe, DoodleDraw, and other interactive white board apps.
     These apps are FREE (click on the names to go to the iTunes store), and enable students to create original works while recording their voice at the same time.  The team liked these apps because students could then show and explain their understanding of vocabulary words- either by drawing or adding pictures (even photos they take with the iPad), writing sentences or definitions, or recording themselves explaining the vocabulary terms.  Finished products could be exported to the teacher, or parents, or saved online.

Option 2: App smash, Scan, and URL shortener (click to see previous post on using URL shortener)
    The team ultimately chose this option because it allows a little more freedom for students to interact with/ evaluate/ analyze each other's work, enables creativity in a different sense, and simplifies some of the sharing capabilities.  Here's what we did:

-We went to and started a new "Wall."  Padlet is a collaborative web page where students can add a text/image square to a wall.  Here's a video on how to use it.  Padlet is also available on the Chrome Store and integrates with your Google Sign-in.

-After we started a wall, we took the web address name and shortened it with URL Shortener.  If you are signed in to your email account, it will automatically log you into Padlet.

- After we got our shortened URL, we clicked on "details" to get the QR code.  A QR code allows mobile devices to locate a webpage using the camera, rather than typing in a web address- how handy is that with iPads, young students, and complex web addresses?  VERY handy!  We next printed the QR codes and hung them on the wall. Students would use the "Scan" iPad app to photograph the QR code, and it will take them to our Padlet wall.

We set up our wall (see video link above), then got ready to teach our students.  The idea is that students can add posts, videos, pictures, links, and text to the wall dealing with their vocabulary words.  They can even leave comments and read others' posts, build off of each other's creations, and encourage feedback. What a great way to get students to think critically about their vocabulary and evaluate their learning!  Plus, the 2nd Grade team can send out the Padlet wall's web address to parents.  A very powerful tool.

1 comment:

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