My district has been lucky enough to purchase Verizon tablets for our students so that they can access the internet outside of the classroom (most don't have computers). Can anyone shed some light, make some suggestions, recommend apps., etc. that would help me to get the most out of this exciting initiative? I am one of nine chosen to help get this moving in the right direction and would love some feedback. Thanks!
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Since Tablets are designed with the professional person in mind, one might take advantage of features that would allow for students to build PowerPoint presentations and/or work collaboratively at a distance from each other to cooperatively create and develop Google Documents. Assigning students these activities will not only enhance their mastery of their studies, it will prepare them with skills for the workforce.
I don't have the Verizon tablet but I'm sure the apps are fairly similar. I know the iPad has some great presentation apps. They allow students (or other presenters) to create interactive PowerPoint and multimedia presentations on the tablet that can be displayed on a screen. It is easy and a lot of fun. The students might enjoy learning through creating presentation or they might enjoy following a presentation created by a teacher using this interactive software. Stories and literature can really come alive on a tablet. You might also want to check out interactive Internet access apps like Qwiki or How Stuff Works. The Qwiki app allows students to enter a keyword or search term and then reads the information aloud while displaying a pictoral or graphic presentation. There are so many great apps like this that are free to use. I know the iPad has a free newsletter called AppAdvice. You might ask your provider if they have a similar newsletter that would give suggestions for classroom tools or other good apps.
What a great opportunity! You are moving into what is known as mobile learning. I have been involved in similar initiatives myself, but mostly through the creation of resources that students can then download onto their own mobile devices. I experimented with creating videos and powerpoints that students could download to review lessons, either before or after the lesson itself, and also giving students various links that they could use to access online resources.
Since you have this technology, you can do a few really neat things to help your students mature academically. If it is a language class that you are teaching (as the category suggests), there are many programs that people have created to facilitate language acquisition. I have a French, Chinese, and Japanese program loaded on my iphone. Some of them were completely free. I also have language dictionaries as well as vocabulary flash card. Finally, you can have them download language MP3s to listen to them when the students have downtime. Keep in mind that hearing a language is key to learning a language.
I am SO envious of this most exciting opportunity! You can pretty much get any software you would normally get for a full-size PC. The only difference is the added software for the stylus (pen). For the Microsoft tablets, just go to www.microsoft.com and search the software listed. Then, just double-check to see if it is compatible with your hardware. For other brands of tablets, go to the manufacturer's website and do a similar search. Most software that can be used on a full-sized computer can be used on a tablet.
I would have the students use their tablets in just about anything I could think of! They could write reports, search the Internet, keep a journal, do fun games for every subject, take online tests, take online classes (like Elluminate), and email their teachers if they have questions. These are just some of what I would have my students do if they each got a tablet.
I agree that this is an amazing tool for your classroom. You have every right to be utterly excited.
While I am not familiar with the apps for the tablet, I did find a cool place to look at educational apps for the tablet.
Since not knowing your particular subject, I browsed the different apps. There are many for editing, math, history, and science.
Sounds like you will have a lot of different choices through the site.
I agree; this is a very exciting opportunity for you and your students! Does your class do research? I've just recently had my students create Evernote accounts. These free accounts allow students to keep all their notes on their phones, computers, and tablets. Many of my students have computers at home, but I think the site would be just as beneficial for you? When my students do research, they keep their notes in the "notebook" a virtual binder stored on Evernote. This means no more lost index cards and no more forgotten websites. My students who hate taking paper and pencil notes (or my athletes who can't seem to catch a ball without breaking a wrist) use the App to take notes in class. Same benefit. When they get home, they can access their notes from their tablet, or from their computer, or even their iPod. Fewer excuses and better notes!
WOW! What an opportunity for your students to join the 21st century! I have no feedback or suggestions for you, but hope you'll keep this forum informed as you start using the tablets - both from the standpoint of how your students are using them and from the standpoint of what you, as the teacher, have learned about how to insure equal access for all your students and how to ensure that the equipment is cared for and not damaged physically or with computer viruses, bugs, and other gremlins.
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