The iPad and Classroom Management

Classroom management has many layers and aspects to it. It includes being organized, keeping students engaged and the ability to deliver meaningful content. Hey, you can also have some fun along the way. So this is where the iPad comes in. You hear all the chatter about the iPad, it’s this, it’s that and truly, it is whatever you want it to be. The iPad is extremely flexible and the apps give a teacher, an assistant, so to speak. The first app that I recommend is Teacher’s Pick. You should always have a way of selecting students, because we all know that squeaky wheel gets oiled and we tend to pick the students who always raise their hands. The Teacher’s Pick is the perfect app for this and students will take notice. In order for your students to see your selection, you can hook your iPad up to an LCD projector, place it under a document camera or simply show them the iPad screen. The app beats using popsicle sticks, especially in the middle school or high school classroom because of the volume of students. Teacher’s Pick allows you to keep track of who has been chosen during the day or even all week. You can reset your picks at any time. A great tool to get everyone involved! Another great app that allows you to take full control of your classroom is the Lan School Lite app. This app comes complete with free software for your main computer, to over see what is happening in real time with the laptops that your students are using in the classroom. The beauty of the Lan School Lite software, is that the app that is installed on the iPad, allows for you to monitor student computers on the go! You can move about your classroom, help students with their projects and continue to monitor your student’s computer screens at the same time. I my opinion, the key to this app is the mobility and you are not stuck in any one place. Students will respect the fact that you are watching and also willing to help. Check these apps out. I know they can benefit your classroom and improve classroom management.

  • The iPod Teacher: Clone Yourself

    There is no doubt about it, school districts across America are increasing class size and this reduces the amount of instructional minutes that each individual student has with their teacher. I think every student deserves some time, if even momentary, to communicate with a teacher one-on-one. As we peer out at our classrooms, it is evident some students require more attention than others because of their academic regression and deservedly so, we give them the time they need. But have you ever wished you could clone yourself, so you could be in more than one place at time in your classroom? That time is now! Use an iPod to deliver valuable and meaningful instruction while you evaluate and help students individually. Additionally, it provides students with a self-paced lesson. The students that get it, move on and the students that require more time can pause and review any portion of the lesson. I found out that our district had 20 iPod Touches ready for classroom check-out. Using an iPod for instruction gives you instant buy-in from students, not to mention your coolness factor goes up a notch or two. So here is what I did:
    1. Acquired iPods 2. Record a screen cast movie to provide students with a content lesson-Here I use Jing to produce my screen casts. You can choose to use any screen cast software. 3. Open iTunes, Go to File>Add to Library>Select your movie file 4. In iTunes, select your movie>Advanced tab>Create iPod Version5. Connect iPod to your computer (If a school iPod is being used, you can set it to manual by clicking on the black icon of the iPod) 6. Drag the iPod version of the screencast lesson that you created into the ipod and your done.

    The lesson is now viewable, you can help individuals and small groups!

    Cell Phones and PDA’s for Learning?

    There is no doubt about it, as technology evolves, so do the opportunities for teachers to meld fantastic, pioneering technology with great teaching. In a newspaper article written in the Sunday edition of the Orange County Register, one of these opportunities are coming to fruition. We have heard of food on the run, but education on the run? Coastline College in Fountain Valley, California is launching what they hope to be a very successful campaign to allow students to complete classes, not only online, but on their cell phones and PDA’s. In an age where cell phones are carried by young children as low as 10 years of age, maybe younger, cell phones can now be utilized as a bridge for learning, rather than the nuisance that they have become in schools around America. The misuse of phones in the classroom, such as texting or the inadvertent ring to disrupt a lesson have no place in school. However, when used to incorporate and allow students to get excited about content and buy in, I’M ALL FOR IT! We owe it to our students, at any level, to provide them with professional instruction in order to cause learning and understanding of content. As a professional, I look for opportunities for students to learn in an ever advancing technological age. Cells phones and PDA’s may not be the answer for middle school students, not yet anyways, but for high school and college I believe there will be an ever growing progression in the utilization of all media, especially learning on the go. You may even see a student finishing their biology lab assignment at a bus stop near you.

      Click here to read “Studying on the digital run.”
      Click here for Coastline College website

    ELMO TT-OS Document Camera

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    You have worked hard to plan your lesson or activity, you have all your transparencies made, the day went great and then your off to a meeting with a parent. You go to shake their hand and you notice that your hands are covered in ink. You know, a day of transparencies, Vis-A-Vis markers and paper towels to try to clean up the mess. Not the most embarrassing thing in the world, however, teacher ink hands are just not necessary!  I utilize a document camera in my class everyday and guess what? NO MORE TEACHER HANDS! I use the TT-OS ELMO Image Mate in my classroom and it is great. You can place written or typed paper under the camera and display it on your screen through your LCD projector. Virtually anything that you have in the classroom will fit under the camera’s eye. Have you ever done a science demonstration for your class, only to have a number of students that cannot see what is going on in the experiment. Having the document camera allows you to place a beaker or a Petri dish under the camera. The camera has a flexible neck that allows for angled views as well as phenomenal zooming to get close to the action. It changes the way you teach and increases those teachable moments that were once held captive, not due to your creativity, but to the lack of hardware that you have at your disposal.  Additionally, on the ELMO TT-OS, you can utilize an SD card to make a still image straight from the camera or even pre-load the SD card and project it onto your computer. Once on your computer, the possibilities are endless. You can annotate, highlight and so much more. Only your creativity decides the possibilities. Remember, no more teacher hands!


    Wacom Wireless Tablet

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    Having great classroom management allows a teacher to deliver great teaching! I utilize a wireless tablet to engage students and increase participation. Students really enjoy when I walk around the classroom, lay the tablet down on their desk and ask them to solve a problem. Once a student sees that another student is willing to solve the problem on the screen, I have a whole army of hands chomping at the bit to take their turn at solving the problem. I mentioned on my last blog, “Presentation Software”, that I utilize Skitch. Skitch allows me to make my presentations and lessons meaningful and dynamic. The tablet acts like a giant mouse, except I have more control and I can be mobile around the classroom: This keeps students on their toes. Additionally, a traditional chalkboard (are these still around?) or whiteboard makes the teacher turn his/her back to the students, even if momentarily. With the Wacom tablet, you are behind students, in front of students and beside students which allows you to monitor the whole classroom. The only other piece of hardware that you are going to need is an LCD projector to get started. If you have ever used a Smartboard or Promethean board, you know that they add such a dynamic to your classroom that is undeniable to your students. These boards allow their software to integrate your computer’s files in an interactive way. For example, with the touch of the screen, you are able to highlight text, move text, draw on the document, cut and paste and much, much more. These boards cost thousands of dollars, but are worth every penny. They are great teaching tools. However, if you put together a Wacom tablet, an LCD and Skitch software together, you have many of the same advantages that those interactive boards offer you, at a much lower cost! I will go as far to say that the tablet is a much better option for the management of your classroom and its’ equality to make your lessons come alive! Good Luck.