Pre iPads the dissecting and discovering the flower's characteristics was certainly interesting, 'educational', hands on , engaging and met numerous standards. I recieved high marks for my 'teaching pedagogy" and I felt successful in my ability to structure a positive learning experience for my students.
But what this lesson lacked was providing my students a voice or a way to express what they learned, knew, thought or could expand on with a creativity I had glimpsed many times but now could share.
I recall vividly the first time I had the children make a Doodle Cast video for me. I had them create a mini project about how to make a dollar 4 ways using coins and their iPads. They were given some freedom on HOW they showed their understanding of this problem with the iPad. They could use visuals ( camera, drawings ) , their voice, writing, typing etc. to respond. They sent it all to me digitally.
I was at home listening & watching their work where I was not interrupted and could focus on one child at a time. Really listen & watch.
I teared up ...when I listened to a child who rarely spoke, or when a boy who was unable to organize all the processes involved in writing down his thoughts was able to explain clearly in complete sentences his work.
I recalled the classroom then- how the children had beamed hearing their own voice, how so many asked to redo their work, giggles. I saw pride, smiles, an eagerness to connect and share. The room glowed with energy and delight.
You see the iPads opened a door where my desk tops or lap tops, smart board, doc camera couldn't. So, while it is absolutely true that technology is a tool and the teacher is the weather in the room who facilitates how the tools are used , this particular tool with its 'user friendliness ', versatility, portability, multi media capabilities eclipsed all the other tech tools in my room. This 'tool' provided the opportunity for my students who needed alternative methods of expression, learning and engagement.
And it is ALL on one device.