Using the laptops last week felt like "the norm". We've used the laptops daily since we introduced them on the 6th day of school. Each day, each period, my students come in, log on/log in and complete their bellringer in Edmodo. It is taking longer to accomplish than it would on paper, and Mr. McDowell has raised an important question, "do you stop and teach a tech skill, or just do it for the student?" One morning a good part of my Spanish lesson was spent demonstrating/supporting a segment on how to "Ctrl+c/Ctrl+v".
Last week we tried Socratize - (wow! - you've got to try it - it's easy to set up/deliver/receive feedback) for a Spanish numbers quiz. Last week, I also relaxed a bit and gave my students access to my Symbaloo sites linked using BridgeURL (another VERY useful app) after they completed their bellringer. I've also started using "games" to allow the students independent learning time. My 6th grade students spent a portion of classtime playing counting games,
I think what I'm recognizing is that having laptops in the classroom is not about having the applications to perform "wows" (which are still cool and very appealing to a middle schooler..), but using the applications to complete the work that needs to be done. I see some of my students beginning to demonstrate a deftness at manipulating his/her laptop - treating it as a tool, not a novelty. When I ask my students to go to their audio dropbox now, check the mic volume, log on and record, it's done in the almost same fashion as getting a piece of paper, a pencil and jotting down a few notes..