Sunday, September 30, 2012

5 weeks in & still going strong...somedays...

So we are 5 weeks into school now (which, can I just say, seems like SO much longer!).  It seems like everyday I'm learning something new about these tablets.  Unfortunately, most days it seems like I'm learning something new that I can't do on them (cue the sad puppy dog eyes).  

Most recently, I assigned my Honors Earth Science students their PBL for the Rock Cycle.  I decided it might be fun to let them create a children's book about the rock cycle in which they personify a rock.  In an effort to "Go Green" and such, I decided it would be fun to find an online program which would make their story more realistic (and conserve some paper!).  

MY IDEA: I ran across StoryJumper (<--Click if interested) which allowed students to create children's books for scratch, or from using a template.  What was also cool about it, was that you could set up an educator account, which allowed me to create my class so that I could keep up with what they were doing and make it easier for me to grade and such.  I've learned to do a brief "pre-test" for cool stuff like this on the tablet because 9/10 times it doesn't work or doesn't work to its full potential.  It seemed to do OK when I did my brief test and decided to give my  kids the option to create it on this website if they wanted.  They ALL jumped on it and, to begin with, thought it was really cool like I did!

THE DRAWBACK: Unfortunately, as it seems more often than not, there were several features that didn't work on the tablets.  Students couldn't upload there own pictures from their files, some of the icons worked off and on, and the screen would freeze up.  I then told them if they wanted to take it home and do it on this software that was fine.  I then opened back up the option to do a paper children's book.  Bummer.

REFLECTION: It seems like my creativity gets hindered SO much by these tablets.  I hate that they have so many things that don't work on them like a laptop or PC does.  I would have NEVER guessed that tablets would be so different and picky when it came to stuff like that.  All the cool ideas I've came up with my classroom that include any kind of Flash Player or interactive element seem to ALWAYS fall short on these tablets.  With all subjects moving towards a common core, and several of them becoming online interactive tests, it seems these Tablets are not very helpful in preparing the students.  There are many days when I wish I had laptops in my classroom so that I could make all my technology ideas come to life.  It's not only frustrating for me as the educator, but for the students as well.  They get excited about my ideas just as much as I do, and also share in the disappointments.  

It is my opinion, at this point, that tablets are not practical for a classroom setting.  

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