Learning is what school is all about…and I’m lucky to learn with my students every day. Today’s lesson was all about resilience.
We have 1:1 iPads in our classroom–for the second year in a row. It’s one of those mixed blessings: a flexible tool that kids love to learn with, and a tool with a mind of its own that creates havoc with lessons from time to time. Last week, before the students arrived, Margit and I spent time sorting out our returning students’ iPads and assigning the newly “cleaned” iPads to our new students. We made sure to sync the entire batch to our “cart account” to ensure that all our apps were on all the iPads and we also charged the iPads so they would be ready to use.
We introduced (or reintroduced) the iPads on Tuesday (the first day of school) with our focus on care, basic operations, and getting the IPads out and putting them away. Students constructed rules for iPad use yesterday…and we had grand plans for a project involving the iPads today. Things began smoothly…we split the students this morning with returning students in one room “cleaning up” their iPads and new students in the other room personalizing theirs. Students were successful and engaged–helping one another and taking care of business. That wonderful “buzz” permeated the classroom as we all were reintroduced to our tools after a summer away from them.
We moved on to our project…working with personal “artifacts” to tell a story about ourselves. Each student photographed their artifact. They worked to ensure they captured the item in the photo, careful to keep fingers out of the way and not let the iPad cover block the lens.
After recess we moved on to the next step: using the Notability app to import the photo and then record their voice telling the story of the artifact. We walked through the basics of the directions confident that students would help each other through the steps. And then the rumbles began…
It quickly became clear that our new students did not have the Notability app on their iPads–in spite of our syncing last week–and it wasn’t a quick fix. Times like these doubly reinforce the benefits of co-teaching. Margit worked with the IT support as I encouraged students to rehearse for their eventual recording, even without the iPad.
As you might expect, there was some anxiety from those without iPads–wondering if they would get to work on their projects and the sense of frustration that comes with plans gone awry. But overall, resilience won out. Our projects did not get done today and students have been reassured that they will get to return to the work tomorrow…with Notability installed on all the iPads. As teachers, we once again learned the importance of resilience and flexibility and a sense of calm in the face of a potential storm.
I know that in spite of the frustration, our students will benefit from learning how to respond when technology complicates our best laid plans. We hear plenty about this generation’s need for immediate gratification and inability to wait…often attributed to new technologies. And sometimes I don’t think I am any more patient than they are! But what I know from experience is that the use of these digital tools in the classroom is the perfect venue for teaching delayed gratification, problem solving, cooperation, and resilience…important life lessons for all of us.