This year was a year of firsts for me, even though I have been teaching for eight years! This was my first year starting the year off with iPads. My previous year, I received the iPads in January, so the kids were already using them with Sharae Geldes. We were able to dive right in and start using the iPads (no pre-teaching required). So it was quite a shock, but also great learning/teaching experience starting from scratch this year.
Not only did I start from scratch this year, but we received a new Reading, Language Arts, Writing, and Spelling curriculum. As a team we decided to rotate and somewhat departmentalize, so my job was to teach all of the Reading. Learning about the new Reading curriculum and finding time to introduce apps was very difficult. I struggled with setting aside time to learn about, explore, and create with newly introduced apps and then being able to keep up with what I needed to teach each day. That is when I reached out to Michelle Boyce, a fellow iPad Academy teacher.
Michelle suggested that I set aside 15 minutes for the kids to explore in groups. Hearing that it only took 15 minutes to introduce a new app intrigued me, so I gave it a shot! I had the kids work with their table group and explained to them that they needed to explore iMovie. By the end of 10 minutes, they needed to have a Point of Discovery (thank you Michelle for this phrase), which is something new they discovered and they could come to the group with a question they still had. The teamwork I witnessed as well as the excitement was unbelievable. When we came together as a class, the kids "hopped on" using the reflector app and shared their Points of Discovery. They also asked their questions during the last five minutes that we had. I didn't even answer the questions, because the kids jumped in and answered for me! My students were the teachers during this entire process.
As teachers, we know that it is important for students to be given the opportunity to engage in hands on learning. They learned way more by doing, than just listening and watching me explain the app to them. I am excited to use this strategy as I continue to introduce new apps in the future. If you are a teacher that is struggling with finding time to introduce new apps to your students, I hope that you find this strategy useful! It is a quick, easy, and an engaging way for your students to learn about the new apps you will be using in your classroom!