“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud” – Coco Chanel
Reflection is an essential step in preparing for an upcoming school year. A little under a year ago I made point in a post that, “An iPad is a versatile, functional, and essential tool for a classroom built around a community of learners.” Today, I confirm that statement. The class that left me was special. They were the most helpful and loving individuals a teacher could have in one room, but I won’t have them this year. Does that mean how my students and I use the iPad in the class will change? Most likely, but it doesn’t make this tool less essential to reaching the needs of children.
I am knowledgeable about classroom organization (I err on the side of OCD) and how to make students independent workers. Before the first slightly sunburnt foot steps through our door we must create an room built for collaboration, so we can reach the needs of children and they can reach out to their peers.
Well, what does this look like? Maybe this means removing half of your traditional desks and chairs to be placed in storage. Maybe this means creating groups instead of rows in your classroom for the first time. Take a step that scares you. A step that makes you a little bit nervous. Why? because it is worth it.
The good news is that the only tool that is essential for learning every day, the tool that can be a book, calculator, video camera, and notepad, The tool that students can save all of their projects to does not require a desk.
While attending ISTE in Atlanta, I realized the best sessions I went to were the ones in which collaboration was invited. I sat at my first “playground” and was able to talk with people and swivel around on my seat. 360 degrees of collaboration. That is what I want this year. I want students to be able to collaborate and feel comfortable while working.
iPads are an essential tool in the classroom. How we use them changes each year and with each group of students. Choose this year to create an environment in which this tool can be implemented and collaboration is invited and expected. 360 degrees of collaboration for 180 days. Sounds good, doesn’t it?