Growing Pains … Labor of Love

Growing pains? Yea… a few, but it’s part of the process, right? Some issues that we’ve encountered in class this week: virtual note passing (via email) and playing games that aren’t educational, during school. A conversation, a list of acceptable school apps and activities … voila, problem solved!

The first couple weeks were time intensive. Anytime we took out the tablets, there seemed to be a variety of connection and access issues, along with questions like, “How do I turn off the autocapitalization?” or “How do I add our blog to my favorites?” or “My screen is frozen, what do I do?” It reminded me of a DMV line, one person helping a frustrated, impatient mob.

This week, however, the clouds have parted, and a rainbow of tech-savvy students have brought happier and brighter days!  Questions and issues are being quickly taken care of  — students are helping students!  It’s quite remarkable to watch. Not only that, but the students are coming in with user tips and tricks, which helps all of us avoid unnecessary annoyances and time lags.

Cool things this week:

  • Student book talks are being recorded with the tablets and uploaded to our class YouTube account, allowing the whole class to view them, give comments and feedback, and watch them over again if we need a book recommendation.
  • Math discussions are being filmed with our tablets (more students want to talk when they are filmed, believe it or not), and it’s great for parents to be able to learn what we’re doing in class through student discourse.
  • Spelling tests continue to be taken on the tablets (paperless and fun).
  • Google Maps and Google Translate were a hit this week when the Japanese exchange students came in to visit! The students looked up Kitakata, Japan and learned some cool facts about the city. Using Google Translate, the students translated phrases they wanted to say in Japanese and were even able to hear the correct pronounciation! Wow!
  • During free time, many students chose to play Words With Friends (Scrabble) with me or their classmates! What a great way to build vocabulary, think critically, and practice their spelling!
  • Many students are giving Kindle a go! It’s fun to be able to push on a word and have the definition pop up or push on a place and have Google Maps bring you there virtually!
  • Blogging — the kids have been writing quite a bit on our blog. Paperless writing and reflection that is shared with more than just me, but with families and peers feels way more real-world! Parents and peers have begun commenting on the students’ writing.
As I sit here, at the end of the week … I smile and breathe a sigh of relief at how much we’ve grown this month. These kids are turning into savvy problem-solvers and generous, patient teachers.
What have you been seeing or hearing about at home?
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2 Responses to Growing Pains … Labor of Love

  1. Janet says:

    I am so impressed with this blog and can’t wait to follow as you and your students take this journey into the brave, new world.

  2. Brian says:

    ~A couple of free classics downloaded from Kindle.

    ~A free bar code reader app followed by a Google shopping look-up reveals fun facts about all kinds of stuff around the house.

    The tablets are an amazing window for learning where stuff is and how it’s all connected! I’m so impressed with the ease and speed of navigation already evident.

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