Once everyone arrived in the “room” (we used Blackboard Connect) and introduced ourselves and fiddled with the various tools, we began by brainstorming strengths and weaknesses of iPads in the classroom, on this wikispace, using something called a “padlet” (no flash required, works on ipads!! It’s like a virtual bulletin board.)
Jaclyn spent some time discussing the use of iPad as student tool vs iPad as a teaching device (resources and links are posted in the afore-mentioned wiki), then we moved on to Socractive in order to respond to some survey questions - it didn’t work so well (happens with tech!), so we just moved back to the wiki, and began going through a wealth of apps students could use.
Apps for Different Purposes
The apps were clustered into various categories like Explaining Thinking (with apps like explain everything , or tellagami) and Collaborative Writing (including the usual blogging apps and google docs, but also primary pad and a variety of collaborative comic tools like Bitstrips, which is apparently now available as an app).
Sorting the apps into different purposes like this helped me to envision what each might be used for, rather than walk away with "ooooh, what a bunch of cool new apps"!
Collaborative Learning Online (for Teachers!)
I really enjoyed the collaborative spirit of the PD session; after a brief overview of each section, Jaclyn gave us time to explore and then discuss (using the mic or chat tools) how each app could be used with students in different contexts. She also responded to questions as they arose.
I especially loved how she incorporated music into the students’ work examples (garage band was discussed, as used in “non-music” subjects). Hurrah! Arts!
Ongoing tech support as various people faced a different tech issues was also available to participants.
The pace of the session was simultaneously fast and slow. It was in some ways very different than other PD I’ve attended, and yet, it was also similar in that some excellent ideas were shared, space for dialogue was made available, and both large and small group interactions took place, while opportunity for individual exploration was also made available.
Time Difference Makes a Difference
Because I am now 2 hours ahead of Toronto time here in Argentina, I did log off a little early, but more because I was generally exhausted than because I was bored.
I am so excited to have found this Professional Learning portal through OTF, and am looking forward to my next online session, about Literacy, next week!