When I taught first grade we used to go on a hunt around the school for things that we were studying. For example, if our focus in math was right angles, we would grab our clipboards, papers and pencils and walk around the halls, library, cafeteria, office, playground and where ever in the school twenty buzzing with excitement students could fit. We would sketch what we found, and then write a sentence. These pages would then be bound together as a class book and put in our book nook for all who wandered into our classroom to enjoy.
Five years ago, I used to say: if only we had digital cameras then… (Did I just date myself?) Then we could have made quick, authentic, non-fiction books using a word processing program….
Time to jump to today’s innovations. I now say: if only we had iPod Touches back then…
Recently, a third grade class started using Touches to check out trash barrels in our school as a part of a grant. The goal: to see how we could improve and promote our UpCycle program. Would we find trash or treasure in these barrels? This week, these third graders are going to present their initial findings in the form of a slideshow at an all school assembly. From there, we will develop short movies or public service announcements to target the areas of environmental awareness need.
The power of the Touches is how each student can be so independent and involved in the process of completing this project. Each Touch has been given a free Gmail account. The classroom teacher’s email has been added into Contacts. Therefore, when a student snaps a picture, s/he can email it to the teacher with a tap. A note, thought or reflection may be typed into the email’s body. (For example: Look at all the paper in here!) The teacher can evaluate the child’s work from her inbox.
If the objective is to combine the images from the different devices, the teacher may put them in a shared folder for a slideshow in iPhoto. Or the students may select the images on the Touches to go into a free Dropbox app on the Touch. Now, these images will be accessible on a designated computer or from any of the other Touches through this Dropbox app. Using Photos or iMovie right on the Touch, students also can create their own slideshows or movies using each other’s images. These can be shared via email to the teacher again. (Or put in the Dropbox.) Soon they will be posted to a class blog or wiki for viewing by an audience beyond the classroom walls.
Putting the power in students’ hands… love it! And how great is it, that we’re saving paper and toner while teaching people to be green?!
Does anyone else want to give this tool a try? Or please share how you’re utilizing the camera and/or sharing features of the Touches!