Today was day one of a new high school semester. New semester, new opportunities. I find that I’m always trying out some small new things here and there, but this might be the semester to put the wheels on a plan that just hasn’t been at the right place at the right time. The plan? A more intense BYOD/ more digital learning environment. Last semester, I thought I had a plan in place for one of my Social Studies courses, but even though I had the opportunities in place, it turned out that students were just not willing to bring their own laptops. Too big. Too heavy. Can’t we just use ipads? Well, no….the technology pieces that I’ve spent time modifying aren’t going to work on an ipad.
Back to the drawing board.
New semester, new opportunities. Every time I teach an English class, I have my students do a “1st Day of English Survey” to help me get to know them. Do they love English? Hate it? Love poetry? Hate it? Do they have a part time job? Are they gamers, athletes, both? Do we love the same books? Do they read at all? What mark is their goal for the course? What is their plan to achieve it….? But today, I finally used a google forms version of the survey that I’d created last year, but just never had the right circumstances. The conditions today were close to ideal: I had almost enough school ipads for the full class, and I knew some of the students from the previous semester. (The librarian did question my sanity in using them on the first day of the semester!) As I pulled out the ipads to do the survey, many eyes lit up. A good sign; they aren’t afraid of technology. One of the questions on the survey asks the students if they would be willing to bring their own ipad/tablet from home. As I surveyed the responses, many students were indicating this was appealing to them–another good sign. In order to have a digital learning focus, I’d need to supplement the school ipad stock with machines from home. Time for THE question: “So tomorrow, we’re going to do our first minor writing assignment. How many or you would be interested in writing on an ipad instead of on paper if you had the opportunity. Over 3/4 of student hands go up……
Looks like it is time to try this environment out, even though there are lots of hurdles ahead:
- Will students remember their devices? I’ve sent a Remind101 reminder out for students to bring their ipads.
- I’m planning on using Edmodo.com as the delivery/ text creation platform. I’ve had lessons created for a year and a half in my Edmodo account, waiting to use…. But I’ve never actually had success in using it in the classroom. Only 1 student in my class today had even heard of Edmodo!
- I’ve run trial Edmodo log-ins and sign-ins at school with a few ipads at once. Will we even be able to successfully create student accounts? Will the students get frustrated navigating the website? Will Edmodo do what I need it to do?
Lots of questions to be answered tomorrow! Will I be able to guide the class over the hurdles? Or will the wheels fall off the plan again, this time just a little further up the road? Hmm….Stay tuned. Hopefully there will be a next time!