Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Overwhelming effect of App Learning

This Wednesday I worked with two teachers  with the Ipads in our school, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, both in science.  It was a great time, and a wonderful learning experience but in the process of  facilitating learning with these two teachers I was learning as well.  The teachers had explored for a week the IPad apps we loaded on our IPads so far (teachers can sign out the IPads to borrow for a week so they may feel comfortable with them).  At present we have 38 apps on the IPads.  Some the science teachers found useful, some not.  Both teachers had specific ideas of what they wanted to do with the IPads and were surprised with some of the apps of science already on them.  Some of the apps available are Science 360, Planatary, NASA, IMotion for videoing experiments, Garage Band for making audio explanations of what they learned,  and others.

The problem was, and is, the fact that I can't know every single App that we download, I can't learn and teach each one as fast as the teachers want to start exploring them and ask for help.  Thus the idea is for each person interested in downloading an app to teach other teachers their app selection.  The idea is for me not to be the central teacher, but for every teacher in the school to be an expert in one or more apps of their selection.  I am considering having an "App Appreciation Lunch Club" once a week, learning a couple of new apps during lunch time.  Another way to share in our school.

Why do this lunch time learning?  In August 2010, Pepperdine University launched a three -term study to assess the iPad potential in learning, and the 2011 results showed a number of interesting findings.  One of interest to me was what worked, what did not, why and what evidence was found.

Faculty member knows the apps well, encourages students to teach each other with class activities

Faculty member does not know how to use the apps they require students to use for their course

If a faculty member is frustrated with an app, most students won't even bother trying to use it, especially if they can learn the material elsewhere

Focus group feedback from students:
"Because there was no training on the apps I had to fend for myself and was confused much of the time. The professor was unable to help as they were just as confused. The iPad was ineffective because no one knew how to use the apps."
"You're more likely to help each other when it's portable and you can see what each other is doing."   Quantitative data from end-of-term surveys was also gathered.

Another item of interest:

Encourage use of the iPad with everyday apps for note taking, email, PDF, ereaders, etc. Ease students into using the device.

Jumping right into complex app use or assignments when students are not comfortable with the iPad.

There is a learning curve to using the iPad.

Focus group feedback from students:
"I just finished the news brief in Keynote. It took longer than I expected. Keynote is not hard to use, but takes awhile to get use to just like using any new program." - iPad class student

Interesting concepts both, and something to explore further at the secondary level.  The most important concept is the true fact that the teacher must be very confident with the App before using it and that it must have revelence and add to the lesson, not be the lesson itself.

Another note of interest is the list of apps for Nutrient, some we may be able to use in Home Economics.  Something to share with them.

  1. Wellness Dice

  2. iAmino

  3. Nutrient Facts

  4. My Nutrients

  5. FoodTracker Pro

  6. Calorie Tracker

  7. Metabolic Syndrome

  8. EatRight Daily Food Log
Below, for your information, are some other studies on IPads for your perusal.

George Fox University

Houston Community College: Southwest

Indiana University

Lafayette College

Oklahoma State University

Seton Hill University

Trinity College

University of Maryland

University of Minnesota

University of Notre Dame

Washington College

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Student reply "That's why you do that, sneaky Ms. P, very sneaky".

Two days ago I had a student question me on the reason behind an assignment.  He was in my Information Technology Grade 12 class, in the movie making section, and he was assigned to do a movie a week to enter in the Vancouver Sun Movie Contest.  The winner gets a $1000.  I thought this alone would motivate the students. (See some entries already published here)

There are five different categories and the students get to choose which one they would like to enter - mocumentary, Public service announcement, music video, and others.  But one of the students called me on the assignment - "You're just trying to give us busy work Ms. P since there is only two weeks left of the class.  So why don't we just sit here quietly, and then you won't have to mark any of this."  My reply back was "I wasn't going to mark it anyways.  It's for you to learn something new.  To learn to plan and implement what you've planned."  

After we talked for a while I found out it wasn't the assignment that bugged the group, it was the categories.  The students wanted to do a video on a song already done, not a new song from someone in school.  This is where experience and versatility come in as a teacher.  I said sure, what song do you have in mind?  They told me the band, one of the people in the group mentioned that they followed the group on Twitter, and then the lightbulb in my head went off.  "OK, do the video, but when it's done, you're going to upload the video to your YouTube Channel and then tweet the band the address of the video."  

Here's where the fun came in.  The same student said "Oh, oh.  Now we're really going to have to do something special."  And "We're not sending what we've done to them, we have to start over".  Now I'm smiling the look of complete satisfaction and someone in the student group notices and says "Is that why you make projects like that Ms. P?  So we work harder at it?"  The reply "It's always like that when it's a real-life project and you have to share it.  You take more pride in your work when you're name is attached to it".

The response of the group "Sneaky Ms. P, very sneaky".  When I was walking away to help someone else in the classroom, I head the comment whispered "She's good....."  I hope so, the better I am the more kids learn.  ;)