Welcome to my blog! I'm Karen Belt, a fourth year teacher working at Lynmore Primary School in Rotorua, New Zealand. I'm teaching in a Year 3 class using iPads to engage and motivate learners and improve student achievement. This blog documents my teaching journey and my learning processes with iPads in the classroom. I've proud of having been a member of the inaugural Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy(MDTA) program and last year a Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher (MIT) and Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir teacher.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Constant reflecting and adapting ....

As part of the 1:1 trial of iPads in the classroom we're constantly reflecting and adapting to try new things and improve the way we are doing things! In the last week we've discovered the many advantages of Teacher Dashboard and scoping projects to individual students - one of the great things is it automatically files it with the students name as part of the file which prevents our 5 year olds saving their work in the wrong place or overwriting "master files!" Today as an extension to writing, I suggested that we have the students write their names, using Explain Everything when they have finished their story. This gives them a purposeful activity to complete, which is one of their writing goals and keeps them engaged while we have small groups at the teaching table. We saw so much engagement with this today that we're going to continue and make it a routine in the classroom! One of the questions Michelle and I discussed in depth last week was students writing using pen and paper, rather than going straight to the iPad, which is one of our long term goals. While we can see the benefit of writing directly on the iPad, we both feel in these early stages we need to scaffold the process using pen and paper where the students are not able to "quickly erase" their work before we can see it (which many of them have already seen they can do on the iPad). The other drawback of the iPad is the size of the screen - already we are seeing with students writing their name that they use most of the available space for just a couple of words - this will of course change in time and with scaffolding and modelling! Once again we continue to use Explain Everything as our app of choice - today Michelle took a session where students did a self portrait! The computers in the classroom are no longer the "drawcard" - our students just love their iPads! (Luisa gets the credit for this artwork!)

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