Putting the iPads to work

Free educreations appI have some thinking to do. I have worked with my year 8s for two lessons now to create cafe conversations which they will present on the whiteboard. We are nearly finished and the presentations ought to be as early as tomorrow but certainly this week. I have scaffolded their café conversation vocabularly with book work, videos, slide presentations and then my au café Storify. I had two students use my iPad for a single lesson to scout out the good apps and to prepare a little presentation which would set my class of 30 on the right track. The students were honoured to use my iPad with the keyboard and stylus. They didn’t use the stylus and keyboard much but they thought it was really cool to have access to those things and I could see it made them feel important. When they gave their presentation on the whiteboard, everyone was listening carefully. They had used my Notability app to set out their information which they had organised really well and then included a quick tour of what they considered to be the good apps.They had really liked my Educreations app. When the whole class was using iPads, the attention level skyrocketed and everyone was intent on getting the right app for their café conversation. This was pairwork. Two of them found a real menu from a top Paris café but were finding it annoying to have to try and look at it and then do their conversation in another app. They politely asked me if they could please have a printed copy. When I brought back the very classy Paris menu, they were even more delighted. There was another student who is new to the class and feeling a bit overwhelmed in French but he used a whiteboard app and started to create some really good boards which he was taking screen shots of. Today he was using a cartoon programme to get the conversation together as a cartoon board with the Eiffel Tower in the background and I was thinking his whole approach was novel. His partner didn’t like it and so it was left until I said I really loved it and thought it was clever. It was. It was different. His way of thinking and working with iPads was original. It gave me ideas but it also gave me a chance to make him realise he was good at French. He just needed to learn and do in his unique way. I have asked him to continue to work on what he is doing and he was happy with that but he was still working on the conversation with his partner using another app. They then needed an iPad each. These students think better with their fingers. They also like making photos and recording. They are active learners who want to be involved in a much bigger way in their work. My job became showing them the French apps they could use to help them with pronunciation or meaning. In exchange they were showing me just how well they learn when they have choices. They love choices and they are not frightened to try. They love trying tools out and they love being able to create something – a product. Not an exercise, an event. As a teacher I have more or less got the roll out right for this café conversation. I need to build in some pronunciation time and then work out what I shall do if they are working in pairs but one student has a different approach from another. They will do a review of this and give me their recommendations for apps. Last year’s review and recommendations were really helpful. I have noticed these students are able to get far more detail with the iPads and their work is very careful. We did all the extra au café learning on the condition I would bring in the iPads so they could use them. That had really motivated them to learn and the journey has just got better and better.

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