iPads in the Classroom

iPads in the Classroom
This weekend I read an article What Students Think About Using iPads in School from NPR’s facebook page. The article – linked above- is a short one loosely covering student feedback at the prospect for using iPads in the classroom. Most of the students were excited, and seemed tech savvy enough to see the benefits of easier homework and teacher feedback access. A few were weary of the expensive devices , having to repair them if they break it. One noted that there will be fewer school field trips that next year, indicating that this was due to a budget cut because of the iPads. I myself am still on the fence with spending money to put an ipad in every studetns hands. One of the issues that keep coming up for me is that this is another way to identify the “ haves” and “have nots” of the school districts. Schools with the right budget can afford this, lower income schools cannot. The question that comes to mind as well is what happens to everything else after we have spent money on individual iPads, teacher and staff instructional workshops, student workshops, tech support etc? Will these schools field trips become spares throughout the year? What about school clubs and academic support? I am 50/50 on the iPad phenomena. There is no escaping its glitz and glamour, and yet some aspects of it are enriching for student learning. But at what ( literally) cost? When our public school systems have so much to work on , student attendance, dropout rates, free/reduced lunches, the new CCSS and so much more, I feel that the ipad needs need to take a back step. When we have improved much more pressing matters of our public school system then I can feel ok with spending money on devices when in the words of one student, “ pen and paper would work just as well..”.

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Early Bird is Late to Class

New month and new student teaching dyad placement! It has been exciting and a little nerve wracking transitioning from 2nd Grade to 8th Grade English/ Reading.

The most notable difference I have observed is how tired my 8th graders are coming to class. Droopy heads, sleepy eyes and postures that clearly say “I do not have time nor the will power to think, let alone LEARN about allegories this morning!”.

It is an incredible difference to my 2nd graders who bounce in with tales of the previous evening, questions for the day and skip and holler like they have just risen from a solid eight hours of sleep .  With the 8th graders however, they slough on to their desks and zone out until a classmate speaks to them or the teacher gets everyone’s attention- a challenge on its own right when the clock reads 7:25 AM.

It is no great mystery as to why I am seeing such huge difference in morning behavior, after 6th grade students attend class earlier. And the older the student the earlier class starts – which  we all know is not creating a productive learning environment.  This is nothing new, and will not change before I embark on my first year of teaching. My question is what can we do to best rouse the academic life lost within the students morning haze? I eagerly await your thoughts!