Four years ago this month, I started teaching with iPads. At this point, teaching with them, developing lessons and assessments and activities that use the iPads are simply part of my psyche.
It’s funny for me to reflect on that first semester and how worked up and nervous and sweaty I would get, figuring out how to use them. I remember how guilty I would feel if I went one day without using them. And I cringe at how frustrated I would get when the workflow wasn’t exactly as I wanted.
For a variety of reasons, my iPads right now aren’t in the state I’d prefer them to be. This is absolutely no one’s fault–it’s been a Bermuda Triangle of a Comedy of Errors.
And yet, I am undeterred.
I looked at what I wanted the students to be able to do with the iPads, looked at what I had available to me, and continued on.
And guess what?
Today, 48 students created Pop Culture biographies in Google Docs and shared them with me, and most of them started writing. 27 students created daily writing journals as well. All students logged into Google Classroom (using Safari), and all students were able to access my daily agenda.
Things don’t look the way I want them to right now, but I am quite confident that this is a temporary situation. There’s even a part of me that is starting to let go of the idea that every iPad has to look the exact same way.
Perhaps I’m becoming a teensy bit less Type A the longer I teach with iPads. And this is something I can feel bleed into my teaching and classroom management as well.
Having to roll with the iPads these past four years has caused me to be much less agitated when teaching without technology doesn’t go the way I planned. It’s made me more open and kinder when answering questions and working individually with students (admittedly, some students might not realize this, not being able to compare now-me to then-me). But there are times when I hear my word choice and tone and think, “Wow. That’s not what or how I would’ve said that 10 years ago.”
Not to say that I still don’t have my days when I slip back into my benevolent dictatorship style of teaching, because I do, and honestly, some days and content necessitates that. But I never really considered that teaching with iPads would holistically change my attitude and pedagogy.
That’s a pretty good fringe benefit, if you ask me.