Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Workflow in a 1:1 Classroom

It has been awhile since I last wrote about what has been happening in our classroom.  The last few months have been busy, and we have been making many changes to our classroom as we adjusted to being 1:1 with iPads.  My students and I have all learned to be more flexible, as sometimes things take longer than expected, and the technology doesn't always work how we would want.  At this point, I can't imagine going back to being a one iPad classroom.  I am continuously amazed by what my students have learned and are capable of doing.  My students have become more confident in their own abilities, and have become teachers as well as learners.

After getting the students used to using the iPads at different times throughout the day, I had to start considering how students could turn in their work so that I could view it, and so that their parents could see what they have been doing.  The students were getting all of their assignments and video clips from iTunes U, but we needed to have some way to turn in their work.  After talking with some of the other teachers in the iPad Academy, I decided to try using Google Drive and Google Classroom to turn in assignments.  The students were able to store their work in Google Drive, and then connect it to an assignment in Google Classroom, which is where I could then grade the assignment and provide any comments.  It was working, but we were having some issues with getting the assignments turned into the correct spot, students were unable to access iTunes U at home unless they had an iPad, and I didn't like that I was unable to "write" directly on the student's work.

iTunes U
Google Drive
Google Classroom

We tried using Google Drive and Google Classroom for about a month, before realizing that we needed to try something else.  At this point, my wonderful coach Ann Feldmann suggested trying an app called Schoology.  In January, my coworker Michelle Klamm and I decided to try using Schoology with our Social Studies unit on America's Beginning.  We worked together to create some assignments to go along with our unit, and then found videos that would help students understand the concepts.


Our America's Beginning Course
I explained to my students that we would be piloting a new app to see how it compared to iTunes U, Google Drive, and Google Classroom.  By this time, my students were used to trying new things, so they were excited to try Schoology.  We quickly realized that it was perfect!  The one app combined all the things that we liked about iTunes U, Google Drive, and Google Classroom, plus it improved on some of the things that we didn't like!

All of the Schoology courses students can access
Similar to iTunes U, the students are able to download assignments from Schoology and open them in Notability, I am able to link to different websites, and the students can view videos that go along with the curriculum.  Once students are finished with their assignments, they are able to turn them directly in to Schoology, where I can "write" on their assignments, grade their work, and write comments to help them continue to improve.  We love it!  After starting with just the one Social Studies unit, we quickly realized that Schoology was a great tool to use, so we started putting all of the other subject areas in to Schoology as well.  Now, students are able to access assignments, video clips, and links for all subject areas through the one app.
A sample of student work.

I can grade student work and comment right through the Schoology app!
At 3rd quarter conferences, my students shared Schoology with their parents.  They showed their parents how they were able to download assignments, complete an assignment, and then turn it in.  I explained to all parents that the students can access Schoology from home on any device that connects to the internet.  I now have parents accessing Schoology from home to check on their children's work.  One of my students that was absent for almost a week was able to complete his work at home and turn it in via Schoology.  It has been a great change for our classroom!

After using Schoology for most of third quarter, I had my students write about what they liked and didn't like about Schoology.  Check out their Schoology blogs at our KidBlog site.  It is always great to get feedback from the students!