Thursday, June 7, 2012

The iPad and Clickers

In my building we currently have 2 class sets of clickers, one of which lived in my classroom all last year. In the past I used them for state assessment prep in 4th grade but am going to challenge myself to use them with 1st graders this year! As for iPads we are supposedly getting a cart of 30 in a year or two (as a part of a bond issue). My original thinking was to have each teacher check out one each day, because I think it is going to cause drama of checking them out (laptop carts is the current drama). Now this decision is not in my hands, but the more I get into my master's the more I am steering away from this idea anyway. Having each kid on an iPad would be pretty awesome. So that was my motivation for exploring these two technologies, now here is what I found...


Okay for starters I found this comparison of using web vs. iPad tools. My iPod I got from entering the master's program at Mid America has been designated (by me) for classroom use. Wow, what a great bunch of apps I discovered through this image. Just thought I should share these tools! So I guess this would be a reason for using the iPad, there are several FREE apps that can support students in reading/writing (that is what most of the apps were on this pdf). One of the apps listed students could record themselves telling a story and add sounds effects... what a great pre-writing activity. Or it could even be used to read a book and then playback to hear themselves read.

Now imagine your students going on a scavenger hunt, if you are an educator you've made one! Students walking around looking for clues, now imagine an iPad in their hands. And finally picture them scanning a black and white picture, aka QR code. That code directs them to a link of a question, video, picture, article, website, etc. Anything you want!

I have to be honest, this website has made me want to purchase 20 iPads for my class next year! (Not sure my husband would be too happy about that!) When looking at pricing of iPads there didn't seem to be a difference in buying for education vs. average Joe. Either way an iPad 2 is $399 and the new version is $499. There was however a bundle of buying in sets of 10, which brought the price to $379 each. And I am sure if a district is buying in bulk there would be an additional discount. The iPads in Schools blog states that while we do not see a lot of tablets right now because schools were reluctant to commit, they are seeing huge growth and many campuses will be adopting tablets soon!

While I can continue to dream of having a classroom set of iPads, I may lower the bar and make things more realistic by researching android tablets. However in the meantime I will enjoy the new apps I discovered for my iPod. 


The link provided to me for information regarding clickers was all geared towards college, so I did some digging myself...

This video was helpful in seeing how they incorporated clickers into a lesson with younger students. The school also is very fortunate to have smart boards and software in which there was a lot more interaction beyond the clickers!

So I mentioned an article earlier focusing on college clickers, and I have found that many articles/ information regarding clickers revolve around the college or high school world. I did stumble upon this blog  and found a common feeling about technology, especially clickers. Bob Deneau noted that teachers often feel that in primary grades technology has to be "dumbed down" and they cannot use as much. I agree with his response that this is not true. In the classroom he observed the teacher used the questions from brain pop for clicker responses. This is a great way to check understanding without recreating!

One other site that I found which also discussed iPads as the first use of technology gave examples of how to use clickers in a primary classroom:

  • Which word has the short vowel sound of /e/: "bet" or "bit"? Choose A for "bet", choose B for "bit."
  • Choose the right order of the phases of the moon.
  • Which pattern is correct: A or B? (make two number patterns with one having an error).
  • Choose the word that is spelled correctly.
  • Use classroom clickers as a way of pre-assessing knowledge before a unit of study.

In the primary classroom I think clickers would be a great tool to check in through asking a couple of questions every so often to check for understanding. I also feel that clickers would be a great tool for pre-assessment. Our district requires first graders to take a pre-test every quarter, it's a huge paper and pencil packet! It also takes forever to grade! How awesome would it be to have the questions put into eInstruction and have students answer through clickers. It would probably be more engaging to students and is less work for the teacher.

Clickers does not really bring up a cost issue to me, because we already have a couple sets in the building. While we do have this technology, I may be playing tug of war with fourth grade (as they are usually the only ones that use them).

1 comment:

  1. I also chose clickers and the iPad to research more. We have sets of clickers available, but I have never used them before. As I have been learning more about them, I regret not having used them so far. They seem like a great formative assessment tool. Students could complete a short quiz after a lesson and I could monitor their level of understanding instantly.

    Using the iPad to complete a scavenger hunt is a great idea. I also have seen it used for data collection by the students. Using numbers, which is similar to excel, students go around the room or building measuring things and recording their data. This could be students measuring the circumference and diameter of different circles and then comparing them. This could be students looking for different shapes and recording the number of sides and vertices the shapes have, then comparing the two pieces of information. The iPad really is such a great tool for students!