I've made the decision to go with the Google Nexus 7 tablets. They have the most bang for buck. We will not be able to afford the education subscription Google offers, so we are purchasing 4 tablets to run our testing with. They should be here any day. Once we have them in our hands, we will be able to see how effective they will be in our clas
I've spent an exhaustive amount of time researching tablets. Here is the breakdown:
Turns out there is some money that the science department can use to purchase some tablets for student use. Now the question is, which tablets will meet out needs, what kind of software is out there for use in the classroom, and how many could we buy. More to come.
Met with a colleague of mine who has also been searching for new technology in the classroom. We are in the process of sharing ideas.
Got an iPad, and though I had hoped to never have one, I am impressed that the district provided one for classroom use. I installed an app called Splashtop ($9.99) which has allowed me to transform my teaching. So far, I have only truly used it as a glorified mouse, however, this small change has provided me with an opportunity to get around the classroom more. Whereas I had been tethered to the corner computer, now I can walk around interacting more with my students. Immensely helpful for classroom management.
So I've been test driving the app Socrative. It is available in both the Google Play Store and Apple Apps Store for FREE! (Teachers love freebies) It is compatible on all devices, including pc's. I found this to be the apps greatest achievement. Having the flexibility to use existing hardware, like laptops, as well as any other forms of technology would be greatly beneficial to lowering the cost of a student response system.
However, I have found several things I don't like from this app. Mainly, the lack of compatibility with examview. (I can hear all educators cringing as I write this) I rather enjoy examviews software for all it lacks. It provides a clean format for assessments, although it can be touchy at times. Not having the ability to import the examview files I have acquired over the past 4 years of teaching is a major headache. If I was to use the app, I would need to go back and re-create all the quizzes, tests and other formative assessments. NO THANKS!
Not all is lost, for this experience with Socrative has left me thinking if there is a better way (I'm sure expensive way) to have everything I need. My search continues.
The more information we learn about student response, the more the evidence is pointing us towards the use of tablets. Why spend so much of our precious budget on acquiring hardware like CPS Clickers, that can only be used for a single task, student response. Why not find alternative hardware that can be incorporated into much more. There are many apps available on both Google Play Store and Apple Apps Store. These include Socrative, a student response app! I will be drive testing this possibility during the next week while on holiday.
What had once been centered on the use of CPS clickers, might be focusing more on the use of tablets or other response systems. After spending the weekend at the National Science Teachers Association conference in Portland, new ideas for student response have been brought to our teacher team's attention. More to come.
As I begin to "flip" my classroom and provide additional technology opportunities to my students, I would like to create summative and formative assessments for each of my units to use in conjunction with clickers and CPS software. These assessments will need to be linked to current Science standards and provide opportunities for students to show both mastery of a subject as well as "Exceeds" opportunities. These assessments will allow me to provide immediate feedback to my students upon completion.