What a difference a year makes!

Last year, when I took part in the iPad project, I was a real newbie and so were most of my students.  This year, two of my students already had an iPad and asked to use their own, and in the beginning of my third-week survey, when asked how often they used the iPad, several answered “constantly!”

I could put myself in this group too.

Since I already taught the class last year, I will start by addressing the changes I am implementing and why.

  • I immediately asked students to share tips in class.
  • Whenever I have a few minutes to spare, we dedicate them to sharing iPad “finds”.  This adds to the spirit of collaboration of the class (which is already quite good).
  • I shared useful and relevant information right away (last year, I did not know what would be really useful in the long run).
  • I taught the students right away how easy it was to use diacritical marks with the iPad.  No more words without accents!
  • I asked the students to film a short “trial-run” video in preparation for their interview project.  Last year, I had too many students who chose poor locations (LSP at lunchtime – or in front of a window, the backlit interviewee’s face was hard to see, or the iPad was too far from the interviewee so that the voice of the interviewer was too loud and the interviewee’s too faint. I will also ask IT to provide instruction on editing.
  • The students are quite aware that this type of device is the way of the future and realize that even if they are not as competent as those in the class who already have an iPad and/or an iPhone, they are learning a very useful skill.  No complaints about being a technophobe in this class.

Last week, I gave each student in the class a question that they had to answer with one or two words.  I asked them to open either Keynote or Pages and write the word(s) in huge letters so it would fill the screen of their iPad.  The answers were names of regimes between 1780 and 1880, Old Regime, First Republic, First Empire, Restauration, etc.  Then, holding their iPads in front of them, they had to line up in chronological order, negotiating the whole process in French.  When they were satisfied that the result was accurate, I took a photo with a student’s iPhone (I had loaned my iPad to a student who had forgotten to bring hers).  This is such a difficult historical period to teach because students think that after the French Revolution in 1789, there was one democratic regime (after all what revolutions for, right?)! So I hope that with physical and playful activities like this one, they learn some important historical facts while at the same time becoming more familiar with apps such as Pages or Keynotes.iPadTImeLine


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