Sunday, March 15, 2015

Drinking From a Firehose - iPad Summit Day 2

I was so worn out after "drinking from the firehose" for two days, that I didn't get this post written on day 2 of the conference.  Better late than never though, right?  If you missed my Drinking From a Firehose - iPad Summit Day 1 post, click here to read it.

Day 2 Takeaways

The big ideas remained the same as day 1, so I'll focus here on some of the little things that stuck out to me.  
  • Be risk takers.  It is ok to try something new in the classroom that you think might be really wonderful for student learning, only to find out that it was a bust.  Kids didn't take to it like you thought, or maybe the technology didn't work the way you wanted it to.  It's ok!  We can't be great innovators and change-makers without making some mistakes along the way.  Involve the kids in that journey.  Let them know that you are going to try something out together.  Let them help you decide if the lesson or project is a keeper or not.  They LOVE to feel like they are taking part in the design of the classroom.
  • Beth Holland is an instructor with EdTechTeacher and she is a really great speaker.  I went to a session with her called Reading, Writing, and Devices.  She talked about how some people are ready to throw out paper and move completely digital, while others are complaining about kids having so much screen time.  Paper is great!  It has served us well over the years.  It still does.  Some things are just better on paper.  Electronics are amazing and wonderful and can do really incredible things and kids can create some spectacular products.  Regardless of what you are doing and how, you need to find balance between the process and the product.  Both are important!  Ask yourself, is this activity/project/product appropriate?  Is it meaningful?  Is it empowering?
  • You don't have to be a "techy" person to utilize technology well in your classroom.  The students are our biggest untapped resource.  They will be more than happy to help you figure out a technology.  Give them 5 minutes with it, and they very well may know more about it than you, even if you've been playing with it for 3 months.  Don't be afraid to let them help you figure stuff out.  Find something you want to try.  Become familiar enough with it to run your lesson or launch your project, and let them help you if you encounter issues along the way.


Plickers is really great for a low tech classroom.  If you are in a situation where your students don't have access to devices and you would like to use a student response system, this is for you!  This is a website and an app.  You sign up for free - the app is free too - and set up your activity.  You can also do impromptu questions.  You print "paper clickers" which are all different shapes and work sort of like QR codes.  The students hold them a certain way to designate A, B, C, D, True, False, Yes,  No type responses.  You simply scan the room with your iPhone, iPad, or Android device and it inputs the answers.  Each person has their own "paper clicker" so you can even know who answered what.  Very simple solution if your students don't have devices. 

Classkick is a free iPad app.  It allows you to create lessons and activities that include text, video, audio, photos, etc.  As the teacher you can see each child's progress individually and in real-time as they work on it.  Sounds very cool.  Makes me wish I had 1:1 iPads.

Web Tools

Kahoot is for game based learning.  It allows you to make quizzes, discussions, or surveys and your students can participate from any device that has internet access.  They can rack up points by answering quickly and correctly and compete against one another.  Your results are stored for you.  You can even save the results right to your Google Drive.  We did one in a session and I have to admit, it was pretty fun.  I'll be using this in class for sure.  

Socrative is one of my favorite tools.  It is also an App (all free), but my students are on Chromebooks so they just access it via the web.  I first learned about this from Jen Roberts.  She did a post about it on her blog,  You can read it here.  It is a way to give your students quizzes, short answer questions, exit tickets, tests, etc.  The students just browse to a webpage, or use the app, and type in a room code to access the activity you have created.  I love it especially for the voting feature that it has.  After students submit answers, you can hide the names of who submitted the answers and then ask the students to vote on their favorite.  Jen used this in her class as you can see in her blog post.  I used it in the same way, only scaled down for the 3rd graders and they LOVED it.  

Zaption is a website where you can turn online videos into interactive activities.  I haven't used this yet myself, but it definitely seems worth checking out.  You can insert questions into videos and require students to answer them as they watch.  Zaption is free.

EDpuzzle is similar to Zaption in that it allows you to add things to a video.  You can crop video, add voiceovers or audio notes, and add questions along the way.  Like Zaption, it is also free.

Club Academia is a website where students make tutorials for students.  Pretty neat. is another site where kids make instructional videos for other kids.

Well, there it is - Day 2 things to remember!  I hope you found something you can use in your classroom.  Thank you for stopping by the TeachingTechNix blog!  

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