A few weeks ago I was observing one of my Math teachers during my regular walkthrough process. I noticed him using his personal iPad as an instructional tool. He had purchased his own VGA connector which allowed him to project the iPad image on his Promethean board. He also used a 10-foot VGA cable to allow him to move around his podium with his iPad. The VGA cable also allowed for student use of the technology. However, the 10-foot cable was too short and provided only limited flexibility for both the teacher and the students.
I was very curious as to how he was going to use his iPad to teach Math. So, I increased my walthroughs to his class being careful not to be too much of a burden. I wanted to see what he was doing and how his students responded to this new strategy. I, made notes in eWalk as part of my walkthrough and what I learned was very encouraging.
Mr. Anderson was using his iPad to increase student engagement in his class. He was able to spark an interest in the students that I often do not see in a Math class. The simple addition of an iPad, combined with the expertise of a great teacher, is beginning to show signs of a promising new instructional initiative.
The walkthrough process lets me witness the great things that occur in class each day
In the course of a few weeks and several walkthrough observations in his class, I became even more of a fan of Mr. Anderson and his iPad. Each time I observed his class, I would see a new and different use of the technology. He would be using various apps during his instruction to increase engagement among students. I noted that he incorporated the students in the activities so that they were active participants in the learning. He would allow students to use his iPad during class to practice and participate in authentic work. Mr. Anderson utilized the technology to make his Math class an enjoyable experience for his students.
Speaking with Mr. Anderson I quickly understood why his new iPad strategies were working so well. He is excited. His excitement rubs off on the students and they are excited. Excitement in Math, who would have thought Math class could be so exciting? The more I observed Mr. Anderson the more I would learn. He described for me new apps he wanted to try with students and how he has discovered new websites that will enhance his next lesson. Now I am getting excited. His passion has become contagious and my walkthrough observations reflected the excellent results I was witnessing.
To a degree, everything we do is monitored through eWalk.
I asked Mr. Anderson if he would be willing to lead a new initiative using iPads in our Math classes. I offered to provide Math teachers with their own iPad if they would commit to attending training workshops conducted by Mr. Anderson and use the iPad for instruction. I also provided the VGA connector and a 25-foot VGA cable so that teachers and students could more easily move around the room using the iPad (more than happy to respond to comments regarding funding for this initiative).
Teachers would be responsible for purchasing their own apps needed for class. Needless to say teachers were very excited to be receiving an iPad to use with their students. Teachers received their iPads just prior to the winter break and will attend their first workshop when we return in early January. As teachers become more familiar with their new technology and settle in to second semester, I will provide you with updates and let you know how things are progressing.
To a degree, everything we do is monitored through eWalk. The walkthrough process also affords us opportunities to witness the great things that occur in class each day. In this instance, a walk-through has resulted in a new instructional initiative. It will be exciting to see how things work out.