Thursday, November 11, 2004

Term 2 - The Planning Process

At the beginning of term two I wanted to explore the use of the tablet in as many different curricular areas and situations as possible. During forward planning for term 2 I took into account this new classroom tool and incorporated it into my planning as much as possible. I was also conscious that I did not want to lose the spontaneity of using the tablet in the classroom when an appropriate situation arose or when the children wished to make use of the tablet during an activity. Often this is when the best use of the tablet arose! However I am aware that I have a duty to the pilot to explore fully the tablet’s potential as a classroom tool and so it is important that we also use the tablet in planned activities.
Our forward plan template is on our staff laptops, and I adapted the template to provide space for related tablet activities. During the planning process I have aimed to ensure the tablet contributes substantially to the activity and is not a fun ‘add-on’ . I continually ask myself why I am using the tablet in that particular activity and what it contributes to the lesson. I always ask the children at the end of the activity how they felt about using the tablet and what it contributed to the lesson.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Using Our Tablets in the Classroom

During the remaining weeks of the first term we became a bit more familiar with the tablets, bearing in mind that the children had worked mainly with Applemacs at school. We applied the skills we had learned on our Macs to the new Windows platform and became a bit more confident in navigating ourselves around.
As well as becoming more familiar with the PC side of things, the children and I were keen to use the tablet side during our day to day work, and see what we could do with it!
I have listed several activities and the comments the children made about the use of the tablet within each activity.
Personal Writing- Using Windows Journal and writing using the pen.
-It is quite hard to keep the writing on the lines
-I’m quite scared of the computer in case it breaks
-Typing and writing was good. You get through things a lot faster
-It made the lesson quite easy
-It helped with the screen facing upwards
-It made it easier to write
The children using the tablets certainly enjoyed using them to write out their personal accounts, however, I was surprised at how long they took to write out the whole story. This amy have been because the whole process was new to them and they were trying to be extra careful. Using the tablets did encourage good handwriting. Hopefully this will last!
Mental Maths - Tables Bingo - Using Windows Journal -Blank
-I want to do Number Bingo like this all the time!
-It’s great fun, not like work
-It’s easy to see if you get the answer right
The children worked from a blank grid and placed their own numbers in the grid. They worked in pairs. I called out tables sums to the children and if they had the right answer, they used the highlighter pen to mark the right number on the grid. This was always a popular activity in my class, but using the tablets in this way cuts down on paper and time, and the children are highly motivated to take part because it is viual and colourful - their numbers on the screen which they can interact with.
Art & Design - Printing - Using Windows Journal Blank, and the selection, copy and paste tools
-It was good that we learnt new things to do with the tablets
-It was better than doing work
-Good that you can copy your pictures over and over again
This activity came at the end of a series of printing activities in Art & Design. I wanted the children to explore how technology could be used to create print designs for wallpaper, textiles, etc. The children loved the flexibility of this activity - being able to manipulate their designs in different ways and then being able to reproduce them to create a print design. In amongst all of this they became much more confident in using the selection, copy and paste tools.
Environmental Studies - montage of trip - Using Windows Journal Blank and digital photos from the trip
-Everything was brilliant!
-You can write on top of the photos
-It was great seeing the whole thing printed
-It was all so quick!
-It made my handwriting look bad
-I kept running out of power
The children came back from the trip around their village and immediately set to work writing down their memories and adding pictures and photographs, making everything work together to make a montage.This worked so well because of the efficiency of the activity. The children were able to transfer all their freshly acquired memories to a presentation which was quick, simple and great fun to do.Such a valid piece of work and my favourite activity so far!