By the end of this week I will have owned an iPad 2 for six months. It was a bit of a jump for me. Never had an iPhone, always been a Microsoft man; but I took the plunge, sold on the sleek design and potential for real classroom development and change in my practice. A brave new world and all that. Six months later and you’ll be expecting a blog post full of inspiration and invention. Well, not quite.
There are many things which have changed in my classroom because of my iPad but there have also been frustrations. Could I have achieved these changes anyway, without fancy technology and greater willpower? Perhaps. Six months seems like a good time to reflect on the changes.
Perhaps the most useful app for me, however, has been ‘Essaygrader’. This app allows me to cut down on hours of marking by using a checklist of comments, which I can adapt to my own classes if I don’t want to use the existing generic ones. My students have all said that they find the comments much more helpful. They say that the advice is much more focused and I can use the saved time to concentrate on more evaluative advice. Not a replacement for hard work just a readjustment. I no longer feel that my written comments are often ignored. Highly recommended
I can attach weblinks, photos or simple reminders which will be there forever. No ground breaker but one which suits me and has helped me improve immensely in this area. Essential.
‘Tomorrow HD’ has been a wonderful list making app which has allowed me to ditch the post-its. I can add tasks all day long and it allows me to score them out as I go, anything undone can be easily transferred to tomorrow. I never forget anything now which, believe me, was often a problem. I’ve even started numbering tasks in order to prioritise. A life saver.
There have been others, less successfully implemented. I briefly flirted with ‘LessonPlans’ and ‘Teachers Pet’ but found that both need more input time than they would actually save me so I dumped them. ‘Machinarium’. I need say no more other than see previous post.
I love my iPad. In many ways it has completely taken over the planning and organisation of my working day – sometimes even beyond. I do all of my writing on the ‘Pages’ App, catch up with the newspapers and Twitter. I am more organised, more productive, certainly more effective because of that. However, I am aware that many of these tasks could also be achieved through others means, mostly time and planning.
I could finish this post by mentioning that I’m fiddling about with this new device when the kids in front of me are not even allowed to turn on their phones. It’s a hugely relevant point but perhaps I’ll leave that for another post.