Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Power of Time + Collaboration : Keys to a Successful iPad Roll-Out

In light of recent events in Los Angeles Public School District and their total recall of iPads due to lack of planning and training, I had a feeling of validation for our program in rolling out iPads within our Bellevue Public School District.  Our team has thought so carefully how to bring iPads to our classrooms from training, coaching, and hardware management.   All of our hard work is starting to pay off.  One of the most important elements of our success is the time and collaboration we are able to provide to for teachers.
During a recent day of collaboration with our teachers, many amazing ideas were formed, problems were solved, and creative juices were flowing.  Here are some of the highlights of our discussions together.

  • Students no longer have excuses.  Because most of our teachers utilize the Google Drive app for workflow- students have 24/7 access to assignments.  All of their work is in one place whether they are at school, traveling, or at home.  
  • iTunesU allows teachers to house all of their resources for units and classes.  It gives iBooks Author products a place to “live” and be shared to their students.  And for take home models, iTunes U allows students to work offline as long as they have already downloaded their materials.
  • Differentiation happens on the fly for students as needed.  One classroom could have students working on different levels but still on the same objective.  This is an amazing option for teachers having to implement RTI.  Being able to use Kahn academy videos in class for remediation is instant differentiation for students who might be struggling.  
  • Students begin to take ownership for their own learning due to increased student choices for production.  Whether students want to create a Haiku Deck presentation, an iMovie, or a flyer in Pages, they start becoming more vested in their own learning.  As the model of “sit and get’ changes to “decide and engage” passion for learning increases.  
  • More and more teachers are seeing that 100% of their students are engaged in their classroom.  That in itself is transformational!
  • The iPads allow learning to happen in a more organic and fluid manner.  Our teachers are discovering that the bulleted and scripted lesson plans of the past don’t quite fit into a classroom of iPads.  Changing direction during a lesson happens often due to the availability of instant information and the opportunity to dig deeper into a topic.
There are many more empowering conversations and outcomes from our day together, but I will save those for another date.  It is just so powerful to get all of these teachers together.  

Our training room was totally differentiated!  We had people creating iTunes U courses, some mastering curriculum apps, and others creating Google Forms and organizing their Google Drive.  It was a student driven classroom, and a great model of what a transformed classroom could look like.  
But most importantly, these teachers had the gift of time and the ability to work with others.  Time and collaboration.  Two critical elements that cannot be underestimated in the plan to implement any new incentive- iPads or not.  

These teachers are our trail-blazers!  They are forging ahead, meeting their students where they are, and advancing students’ skills ensuring they are prepared for the 21st century.  
*Notes from our opening conversation.  

Written and Published by Jenny Krzystowczyk

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