Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Fostering Independency

When I look into iPad apps, I always think about independency.  Can my students use this app independently?  Will I have to do a lot of management work to publish and share their work?  
Here is a system that I have in place in my classroom to foster independence.
  •  Invest some time to train students. --- Even though we have a million things that we have to get done each day, it will be worth it to spend some quality time for training.  If possible, invite extra adult (technology integrationist, parent volunteer, older students, ect.) to co-teach.  It is so helpful to have extra sets of hands to go around and answer the questions that students may have.  Our school has a wonderful technology integrationist.  She is always willing to come in and co-teach with me or even work with small groups of students!
  • Find student experts! --- We can always find some students who are very techie, right?  I post their names as student helpers so that when students have some questions they can go ask those students instead of coming to me right away.
  • Make a step-by-step poster. --- I am a very visual person, and so are many of my students.  I used screenshots and the app called Skitch to create posters that show every step for some creation apps.  When my students say, "I forgot what to do next..."  I would direct them to the poster.  The posters work very well. 
I have to say this system works pretty well.  Today while I was working with small groups of students, my students created a math problem on the app called Educreations independently.  They worked on this project the other day (click here to view the post) with a help from our tech integrationist.  They had a poster that looked like below for support.  Well, I was never interrupted by students who were working on iPads.  I was amazed how independent they were!  My hope is that as students get comfortable using these creation apps, they will use their creativity to share their learning independently as well!