Friday, March 21, 2014

Students as App "Super Users"

Recently, I began using the term "Super Users" in classrooms when working with students and iPads.  I love this term because it empowers students who have already used an app and most likely know more about its use than the teacher in the room.  At the start of any lesson or project I ask students to raise hands and show me who has used the app I am introducing for the project.  I have students acknowledge them as the"Super Users" and I tell them to be sure to consult those students with questions before asking teachers.

These "Super Users" tend to take that leadership role and assist, teach, and share as needed during particular projects. The classroom environment becomes  noisy, but conversations and learning are very apparent.  As a teacher, I see learning, collaborating and engagement.  One specific instance of  a true "Super User" must be shared and is the motive for this blog post.

Using Pic Collage and 30 Hands for a state report project was a recent project of mine in a classroom of fifth grade students.  The other day was no exception to the daily project work where students were creating collages, saving, inserting into 30 Hands and recording explanations to fit their images.  The exception came when a "Super User" was presented a dilemma with typing text for temperatures. Finding the degree symbol on the iPad keyboard was the "catch" of the day.  One "Super User's" problem solving approach to this dilemma was truly amazing.  He simply suggested to type the temperature in one text box in Pic Collage and then add another one and type the letter "o".  With that box he suggested shrinking it down and moving it up next to the temperature and just above to show as a degree symbol.  My thoughts: BRILLIANT!

This was just one more reason why, we as teachers, need to trust students as experts and let them be experts and share.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tech Fail Turned Tech Success

Tech fails seem to bring us down AND constitute a little "dwelling" on the negative.  However, when a tech fail turns into a very positive experience it constitutes a blog post.  Yes, I needed to blog and this seems blog worthy today.

Plan "A" today involved a simple afternoon drive over to one of our feeder schools to continue our State Report projects on iPads. The "fail" part comes in when a little miscommunication occurred and the iPads weren't available for the afternoon.  The teacher I was working with asked if I wanted to cancel or if I had a Plan "B".  As I pondered our lesson objectives and the fact I was the only one with a device, I was determined to find a way to expand our study of states beyond textbooks and a Google search.  Twitter and my PLN came to mind immediately. 

My next step was to send out a "tweet" to my PLN asking for fun facts, pictures or quotes about their state.  Hoping to get some feedback and have opportunities for discussion, I was almost ready for Plan "B".  I was not only excited to turn this tech fail into success, but was excited to share this Twitter activity with these students.

Success.... Yes, I said success!  The Plan "B" was a success.  Following our short YouTube video, I opened Tweet Deck.  With the help of an amazing PLN:  (Thanks @mrbadura @mandery @mrszookeeper @mrbalcom @bethEilers @kimberlymeier @lmhere4apolo @prairieCA @Flemtech @ventura_omaha @micheleCMueller @lconley86) The tweets came in and we were able gather some great information using resources beyond the textbook and Google.  

(AND... talk a little about one of my favorite topics #digcit in this process)

Thank you Tech Fail for your time.  This time I conquered you. 

Just a teacher sharing her story :)