Friday, March 12, 2010

An AMAZING Transformation...

"Let me not resist change but embrace it. It offers an easy path to internal transformation and personal empowerment." -Innerspace

So much has happened in the classroom and with the students since the start of the iPod Touch journey. A couple BIG things:

1. Mrs. Stacey has mastered the syncing of the cart - phew!
2. We have connectivity with all of our iPod Touches
3. There has been a transformation in how the students are learning and thinking about learning

Let me start by painting the picture for how this is playing out. First, Mrs. Stacey has done a phenomenal job of empowering her students to be problem solvers and supports for each other as they use this tool. She has truly created a student centered model that is incredible to watch. As I stepped in her classroom, I saw her students working on finding 3D shapes with Google Images, then they were uploading them into Sketches (app) so that they could identify edges, faces, and vertices. The ease with which they were manipulating the tool to made it seem that these students were born with this device in their hands. Because of their independence with the tool and freedom with the assignment, Mrs. Stacey was able to wander throughout her classroom and assess the students understanding of the content. See quick video of this activity: 3D Shapes in Nature The next day, I entered the classroom to find the students wrapping up the 3D shapes in nature and posting their findings/understandings of 3D shapes on Wiffiti using their touches.

Although this was extremely exciting to see, what really supports the transformation of these students happened in writing. They have been working on a piece of writing using a powerful tool...the pencil and paper (hey...don't knock it! Sometimes, it's the best tool around!). One of Mrs. Stacey's students approached her and said that he was ready to publish. Before she could say anything else, he asked if he could use Story Kit, an app on the touch, to publish. As he published, he incorporated pictures from the web to support his story, and then added voice. This was his own initiative! At this point in the game, Mrs. Stacey hadn't even introduced Story Kit to the students. This student saw a tool, explored the possibilities, then asked if he could run with it! What a transformation in learning! Since then we have added Brushes (app) so that when the students are publishing, they are able to illustrate their stories using this app.

The really wonderful thing that continues to stretch us (the educators) is that the students are coming up with astounding ways to utilize this tool. It's so neat to hear how the use of apps is constantly evolving (as well as the tool itself) to bleed into other areas of learning, not just the ones we define!