What 3rd Hour Sounded Like Today.

Of all the classes I’ve used the iPads with, my 3rd hour has been the toughest to find a rhythm. The first couple of tries left me wondering if I should use them at all with this group, because I felt like I was doing way more classroom management than teaching. It was discouraging, in part because I don’t like playing the part of the Technology Dictator at the front of the room.

So we took a break.

Resolved to see what writing a paper looked like on the iPads, we eased back into using them. Friday, most of them used Popplet to brainstorm and organize their literary analysis of A Raisin in the Sun. Yesterday, they did more prewriting and then moved into Google Drive to start typing their papers. And today, I couldn’t believe what I heard after 15 minutes of class.

Nothing. I heard nothing.

Students were sprawled all over the room, some listening to music, typing away. Occasionally I heard “Ugh! I hate typing on the iPad!” or “How do you spell Lindner?” or “When did the play take place again?” And students answered each others’ questions. But for the most part, it was silent. They were never this quiet in the computer lab last semester when we were working on the Research EO.

I asked them to have at least one/one-and-a-half pages by the end of class. Most students had just that. Again, that kind of informal deadline was rarely met during the Research EO.

I could say that they are six months older and they are more mature, or that the literary analysis is easier–all of which is likely true. But I can’t underestimate the familiarity of the classroom, or the ease of asking me questions (much easier to bring me the iPad than me meandering through a maze of computers in a lab). The entire environment felt more relaxed, more collaborative.

I was so happy with and proud of my 3rd hour class today, and after the iPads were put away, I told them so.

As for writing the paper on the iPad, a couple of limitations: no double spacing, and no commenting unless switching to the desktop version in Safari. But so far, so good.

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