I have also mirrored the iPad when I had year 9 students designing their own ‘google sites’ web pages on a ‘disease’ of their choice. While walking around the room I was able to monitor their work in real time and when I wanted to give guidance and show other students what their peers were working on I was able to put it on the big screen so all students could see it at once. Another use of the iPad in my classes is to use it to control remotely my laptop connected to the smart board. To do this I either use Doceri (my preferred choice) or splashtop whiteboard. The benefit of controlling your IWB connected laptop remotely is that you are not tied to it. Being free to move around the classroom allows you to interact and monitor students much more effectively. I have also used it when discussing a concept from the students textbook or a worksheet where I am able to zoom into a feature and annotate it. Having said this I have only just touched the tip of the iceberg with this one!
A major difference in my own use of web 2.0 and my students use is with social media. Both I and my students use it but not together in the class room. I have used Facebook for many years and have just started using twitter in a big way but do not use these with students. We do have Moodle at my school that I have used with students that has aspects of social media built in but in a closed, safe environment. I am considering expanding my repertoire to that of Instagram as I have never used it but can see its benefits in sharing professional and personal events in picture. The article by Mary Anne Belle, “BELLTONES: Picture This! Using Instagram With Students”, has encouraged me to do this and shown the benefits of it for use with students to pictorially document work done in class, including practical tasks in science! Rather than just giving students permission to take photos of practical tasks I could get them to engage and share it socially. A statement as to what they are learning would be beneficial when they post it. Again it is likely that I will use it personally, and professionally, but not directly with students. The reason is that such social media it is protocol we are not to engage with our students. To blur such boundaries therefore would have implications that may lead to issues with the school I work for. This would be an issue I would need to address before using it with students.
A web 2.0 tool I use for teaching only is socrative which is an interactive ‘clicker’ style browser based quizzing generator that gives instant feedback and detailed statistical data that can be downloaded as an excel file. This tool, as I have blogged before, is excellent in being able to see what individuals and a class know or don’t know allowing the teacher to give instant feedback and ‘just in time’ teaching such as clearing up students misconceptions.
When using the above tools or any others it is very important to consider that the pedagogy is important, not the tools themselves. The article by Sophia Mavridi, “We need pedagogy, not just cool tools”, was an excellent reminder of this. As I have also outlined in previous blogs using the TPACK process is a way to manage this. As I’ve said before, choose tools with the right pedagogical reasons underpinning them, then just use them and become proficient in their use. Another web 2.0 tool that I use both personally and professionally, including with students, are google apps. The article by Victor Rivero, “TOOLS FOR LEARNING: We’re Talking Social Media in Education”, included an excellent list of tools such as ‘Edmodo’, schooltube, glogster EDU, ning, surveymonkey, etc. I have thought about using Edmodo, but my school uses Moodle. I have also looked into glogster and ning but have not used it yet. I have used ‘surveymonkey’ before but I am not likely to use it as I use Google apps extensively and will use ‘Google forms’ instead for surveys as it does not have the limitations of survey monkeys and I know how to use Google forms well. Expanding my use of web 2.0 tools professionally is a definite advantage. I am just starting to expand my networking and PD through the strategic use of twitter. It is also useful to know how a technology works yourself before using it with students. Expanding the use of web 2.0 tools with students can be a double edged sword. Yes, thought through correctly in a pedagogical sense, it can be very beneficial, however, it is better to be proficient in a few than cursory in many. As has been discussed before, do not just keep going for the next fad. Nevertheless, the benefits of web 2.0 tools in terms of collaboration, engagement, higher order/deeper learning, etc. can be significant. In my school I have investigated the web 2.0 tools on offer and have used ‘Google apps for education’ extensively. I have also used Moodle a bit but not as extensively as I could. I have not used the blog feature of it yet with students but will consider doing so.