This year my 1st grade classroom will go one-to-one with the iPad 2. I’m so excited! I’ve spent a lot of time this summer thinking about curriculum, assessment and management of devices. Last year, my classroom participated in a smaller iPad 1 grant with 30 devices shared between approximately 120 first and second grade students. My colleagues and I learned so much on our maiden voyage with iPads in the classroom. One management issue I came across was determining which iPad was being used by each student. Students were frequently trying to locate unfinished projects as iPad interactions were initially random and flexible. My technology coordinator had the idea to number the home screen of each iPad. This was a big help as students could remember which number they had saved a document or project on, and then go back to that iPad at a later date. Eventually, students were assigned a number and consistently used that iPad during class. However, it was tricky for me to remember students and their device numbers; it was also a slow process when students were passing out the iPads for use. We made a chart that showed “Kristin…………iPad 23” but students continued to ask, “Who’s 23? Which kid is 23 again?”
In my class we use photos and numbers to show the date on our monthly calendar. At the beginning of the year each child holds up a large number that I print on a word document. I then take their picture, develop the photos and cut them out to make place holders for the days in each month. The kids love seeing themselves on the walls of our classroom and reflected in our learning.
This year I plan to build off my tech coordinator’s idea but this time use the same calendar photos as the home screen for each iPad. When students are passing out the device they’ll be able to quickly see who to deliver it to. When they put the devices back in the cart for storage or syncing purposes the device number will line up with the storage slots that we’ve numbered. At a glance, I’ll be able to look at the cart and identify if devices are missing and I’ll easily be able to pick up an iPad and know who has been working on it. I anticipate this will also build ownership and engagement as students have another opportunity to see they are represented in all the learning that we do in our classroom.