Monday, September 19, 2011

IPads in the Classroom

I finally purchased an iPad 2.  I know...it's hard to believe it took me so long.  I felt I needed to justify it to myself, make sure that it was truly a head decision instead of just a heart decision.  I watched my coworkers at meetings and sessions taking notes.  I spoke with colleagues who shared fabulous work apps that they use.  I tried hard to slow myself down.  Then, I did my first travel day in my new job.  I met with one of the administrators in a school division in my CARC area.  We drove around to meet all of the math teachers in 6 schools.  I took pen and a book for notes.  During these meetings, I frantically took notes, detailing important information.  Now, if you've ever seen my handwriting, you'll know that when writing fast, you can barely read it and my hands cramp up!  So, finally, I gave in and purchased the iPad.  It was an exciting time! 

I purchased it while out shopping with my sister, heading straight over to her place afterwards.  I brought my laptop, knowing for now, I still needed a laptop with itunes to get started.  I lovingly removed it from its sexy package.  Carefully placed it inside the case w/keyboard I purchased.  Booted up iTunes and we were off and running.  Well.  Sort of.  After syncing it, that is. 

My nieces, who had been thrilled with my iphone and have several favorite games installed on it, were blown away by this big version!  Does it have Talking Tom Cat they wondered?  What other cool games would I add to it?  Be patient!  They are downloading as we speak.

The next day, I was off again to visit more schools in this same district.  Instead of totting around pencil and paper, trying to decipher my handwriting, I was happily typing away, keeping better notes that I knew I could read later.  The keyboard was a bit tricky as there's no right hand shift and the apostrophe and quotation marks are below instead of beside the ;. 

What else could be better?  A few days later, I was contacted by a principal asking for support in early numeracy in a K-4 school.  She wants to learn about iPad apps that she can use to help struggling math students!  Wow!  What perfect timing!!!  So, off I went, looking for apps.  Mainly, I focused on the free ones, knowing schools have limited budgets but I saw many that looked amazing and were cheap.  My problem was that I didn't want to spend the money to test them knowing some of them wouldn't be worthy of sharing.  What to do?  It was simple.  I sent them an email, introducing myself and my new role.  Explaining that I will be holding workshop sessions introducing iPad apps.  Would they be interested in providing me with their product for my review?  If they were worthy, I would tell other teachers about them and let them try them on my ipad.  I have received over 40 free samples so far and more keep coming in. And that's after only 2 work days. I haven't even come close to going through all the math apps in the app store, either.

I thought I would share my favorite apps in upcoming posts.  I'll also be adding them to my delicious account as well with the tag ipad_apps.  I'll also include tags that indicate a general curricular theme as well.

If you know of a great math app that I should check out or would like to give me a promo code for your own math app, just send me a quick email!

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