Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tablets in science classrooms

Here is a video about using tablets in science classrooms. (Via Mindshift). Exciting!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Notetaking on the iPads #2: with freshmen!

Yesterday I did something I never thought I would do when I first started this experiment: I took notes with my freshmen on the iPad! I thought I would never do this because I assumed that freshmen would be too impatient, too distracted by the other features of the iPad to actually focus and learn. Well, you know what happens when you assume.

I think it helped that I chose a topic that was particularly conducive to taking notes on the iPad: systems of linear inequalities. My students in the past have had difficulty visualizing the solution space where the two linear inequalities intersect. The iPads, along with the app Noterize (which is quickly becoming my favoring notetaking app) helped students visualize this solutions space clearly.

The app has a highlight function, so students could highlight the solution space for each inequality in a different color, and then they could see the solution space for the system of inequalities clearly when the two different colors overlapped. 

I also found that some of my messiest, most disorganized students took the neatest, most meticulous notes on the iPad. Usually these students were boys. I do not know why this happened - maybe it was because they had the opportunity to erase, or because it seemed more permanent or special than simply writing on paper.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Update: Algebra I iPad Textbook

Here is a small update on how the HMH-Fuse iPad Algebra I Textbook Pilot study is going.

There is not a lot of data yet on whether the iPad classes are doing better than the standard textbook classes, but so far it sounds like this teacher and I are drawing the same conclusions: The iPad is not a cure-all, but it does make learning more fun for students. It gives some students (usually the most uninterested) an opportunity to be interested in the material.

One thing that this teacher is doing that I might try is using videos in the classroom. It seems like a great way to differentiate instruction, something that I have not yet accomplished using the iPads. I will keep you updated on how that goes!