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5 Ways To Promote Positive iPad “Screen Time” At School

by Victoria Olson, TeachThought PD Workshop Facilitator

Interested in bringing Victoria Olson to your school for a workshop? Contact Us>>

With an increased prevalence of 1:1 iPads in classrooms, schools, and districts across North America, teachers are fielding a common parental concern: What about screen time? Aren’t our children on screens enough?

iPads are commonly purchased as an at-home, personal entertainment device – to play games on, watch a bit of Netflix, or browse social media. However, they also have abundant creative potential for student learning. Here are 5 things you can promote in your classroom to show how high-quality iPad screen time can positively impact learning.

1. Create, don’t consume

iPads shouldn’t be designated consumption devices for students. They’re so much more than an e-textbook, a math worksheet, or a way to annotate PDFs. Get students creating with the most valuable app on the iPad: the camera. The ability to capture photos in a mobile environment allows students to interact directly with their learning environment, and apps like PicCollage or Popplet allow students to explain, outline, and document their learning in a digital visual format.

2. Promote metacognition

Explain_Everything-workshopHow do we get students to think about their learning more deeply? Screencasting apps like Explain Everything (click the image to the right for more info on our workshop) allow students to capture both audio and visual components of their learning, and more importantly, to playback their explanations. This is like game film for learning – students can self-assess and improve their work in a snap, and better yet, you can formatively assess their screencasts for just-in-time instructional support!

3. Provide different ways for students to show their work

There are so many ways that students can demonstrate their understanding of a concept, and the iPad magnifies the ability to differentiate to student needs. Perhaps some students are more visual and would like to create a collection of images to show their work. Perhaps others would rather write about the topic. Instead of asking for ALL students to show their work in one way, why not provide a choice of how they show their work?

4. Document and assess through blogging or digital portfolios

Screen Shot 2016-05-27 at 11.38.25 AMBlogging and digital portfolios are changing the face of curation, feedback, and assessment. Blogging platforms like Kidblog, Edublogs or SeeSaw are allowing students to create digital timelines of their growth in your classroom, all while interacting with each others’ work. Digital citizenship education, and peer- and self-assessments combine in one place, making the iPad a one-stop shop to upload snapshots of student learning throughout the school year. Another perk: parents LOVE to see what their child is up to at school. Be sure to share links with them, too!

5. Share learning with the world

Learning no longer has to be constrained to the walls of your classroom. If students are already creating and sharing digital content through digital portfolios, why not have them connect with classrooms around the world as well? It’s easy to connect your class with meaningful projects through classroom social media accounts like Twitter or Instagram. Check out The Global Read Aloud project (#GRA16) or hashtags like #mathphotoaday, that promote students to share visual content and explain their thinking.

Grow learning at your school with one of our technology integration workshops.

image attribution:Marcus Kwan

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