Teacher Lee Briggs on technology in today's classroom. Brought to you by Weekly Reader.

iPad Observations

I went into this school year skeptical about how I would use my new tablet. For one thing, I questioned how useful it would be when I already have a computer and a SmartBoard.

However, I have noticed several changes in my behavior since using it.

  1. I am keeping better track of my student notes. I used to have a notebook where I would jot down late assignments, behavior issues and interventions.  I find that with a handy App called Teacher Pal, I am keeping better records than before.  Now when I click on a student’s name, I get his or her latest reading scores, a list of missing assignments, behavior issues, and positive interactions.  Imagine how useful this would be in a conference, and how much better this looks than a stack of papers in a manila envelope.
  2. I am keeping better track of events. Using the calendar, I can set reminders for myself and never forget any of the little management issues that often trip me up during the day.  Morning announcements? Rescheduled band practice? A student getting picked up early? I get little chimes throughout the day to remind me of the little things. They are like sticky notes, with alarm clocks strapped to them.
  3. I update my classroom blog a LOT more. Using the Blogspot app, it only takes me a few minutes to churn out an update, attach picture, and post it. I used to update my class blog every week or so. Now I get two or three posts a day, many of them written by my students. Many of the posts are little reminders for my class or updates for their parents. Hopefully this will go a long way toward making my classroom seem more approachable to parents, and the blog a place where my students can go to get updates.

Things I still want to be able to do:

  1. Be able to ‘write’ on my SmartBoard remotely, as though a miniature version of it were projected on my laptop. I have played around with a few programs, but most of them require a ‘double-tap’ or a ‘tap-and-hold’ to write. I want to be able to open an app, see the screen on my ipad and start doodling.
  2. Some way to easily write on PDF files. GoodReader does a decent job, but far too complicated for my students and far too complicated to replacing printing and writing on documents. I would like to be able to write on all the masters that I printed out, then save them rather than wasting paper printing them
  3. Speaking of printing, I want to be able to print wirelessly to our network printers. ANY network printers, not the choice list of printers that made the AirPrint cut.
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