About a week ago the school team around our technology project sat down and talked about how the project has developed. One of the celebrations we have is that many students who were reluctant writers have been gaining confidence. One example of this is a student who at the beginning of the year would write only his name and one or two words when working on journal entries. The student began to use Clicker Docs to support his journal writing activities. As he gained knowledge of the program the Classroom Teacher began to notice an increase in the confidence he had as a writer and in the student’s ability to express their ideas independently in a written format. Since returning from Spring Break the student’s growing confidence as a writer has developed even further. The student is writing on the iPad with independence and has started demonstrating the desire to write with a paper and pencil, something that they showed great reluctance to do at the beginning at the school year. For this student technology has served as a tool that has helped them to gain confidence in their academic skills and in their ability to be successful at completing work with greater independence.
Things have been going really well in the classroom with the technology project. The students have continued to work in small groups writing their own versions of “Snowmen at Night”. They are also using the paint feature within the Clicker Books to illustrate their books. When the Grade 2’s have finished their books they are going to be reading to their little buddy Kindergarten class. I love seeing the creativity that is coming out with their authorship and that the Classroom Teacher has planned a way for they to share their work with an audience.
We have been using the iPad in all academic areas, particularly in Science and Math. We started with the adults in the classroom making materials so that they had the opportunity to become familiar with the iPads, MacBooks, and Clicker programs. Now that they have developed their familiarity they are working on supporting the students to create their own works.
In Science the educators collaborated on creating books on the life cycles of specific animals. Curriculum is being presented by using pictures from the class materials, key concepts are then presented in language that supports learners at all levels. Key vocabulary is also emphasized. Students are able to use headphones while reading/listening, which allows them to access the information independently; they are able to check in with the Classroom Teacher or Educational Assistant if they need help. They are also able to re-listen to parts as needed and are in control of initiating the listening. In small-guided groups, students then discuss what they have read and make predictions of what they think will come next which helps develop their comprehension of the material.
In math we have been using Clicker 6 to model the exercise being taught. The students then make a visual of the problem and then go on to solve it. The classroom teacher creates a problem on the board, the Educational Assistant then uses Clicker to recreate the problem. Working in a small group the Educational Assistant guides the students through solving the problem at a slower pace. This has really helped to support students who need a greater amount of time to develop their understanding of math concepts and removed the pressure of keeping up with the class.
The students have also been using the iPads in journal writing, and have really seemed to embrace the technology. They are highly motivated to use the different resources they have access to. An issue that has been encountered by the classroom team has been that the word banks sometimes don’t predict the right grouping of words. This leads to students sometimes entering in words that don’t make sense. Students are then encouraged to listen to the sentences being read to them to see if they sound right. They are often able to hear that it is an incorrect word; by hearing it first they are then able to locate their own errors, which allows them to self-correct.