Loving Learning Again

Late in December my school replaced my 10 year old iPad with a new model. I’m kind of spoiled, my school supplies me with a laptop that gets upgraded every four or five years and they have also supplied me with an iPad. The combination of getting this new iPad along with transitioning away from virtual learners allowed me (encouraged me!?!) to do some pretty quick learning. Since August 2020, I have been tethered to my laptop and a graphics tablet. Everything I write in class has been on an online paper source called BitPaper and I left records of all of our class discussions and work there and posted the links to our Google Classroom. The two drawbacks were (1) I could not move and rove around class at all and (2) the BitPaper does not act like Google docs. If I look at it and another person is already there, any change they make such as scrolling through the notes also effects my screen. It kind of made my students crazy. So, during break I ordered an Apple Pencil and, at the urging of some of my students, started learning how to use an app called Good Notes. Late in January I finally felt comfortable enough and I left my MacBook and Wacom graphics tablet and started projecting our class from my iPad using Good Notes. I can convert every class days’ notes into a PDF and upload them to a shared folder so my student own their own copy of the class work every day. I am getting comfortable (or, at least, MORE comfortable) grabbing screenshots and cropping them and pasting them. I can add blank pages between things when class work takes more space than I anticipated, it is more natural to write directly on my iPad than it was to write on a graphics tablet, I can move around the classroom again, and the iPad is just more mobile even around my house. I am more likely to jot down some quick ideas/notes in preparation for a class. Most importantly, my students are watching me learn and grow proficient at a new skill in front of them. Most of my progress is in the form of me asking a question out loud and having some student(s) give me a tip. Visible learning is a good thing to model. Learning from my students is a GREAT thing to model. Seeing a teacher excited about learning something new makes it at least a little more likely that my students might be willing to get excited about learning a new skill. The past couple of weeks have been rejuvenating as I work toward mastering (yet another) new way of having my classroom operate.

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