Our school will be experimenting with several Android tablets as well as the iPad this summer in hopes of starting a pilot program at some point next school year.  Does anyone have any Apps, Ideas, or Advice they would like to share about using Android Tablets and/or iPads in the classroom?

Tags: 3.0, android, apps, classroom, honeycomb, motorola, samsung, tablet

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Check out the Google Body app. Awesome for an Anatomy class!
If you are looking to use those devices as a classroom response system try QuestionPress.com.  Small fee, but worth it for the fact that you can run it live and for the large number of question types.
Thanks, Alan- we'll have to check it out
As you're thinking about using tablets in the classroom, try thinking some along these lines: How could every student having a tablet impact the taking of notes?  Could you cut down the amount of time spent "taking" notes and instead spend more time discussing/debating/analyzing/using the content in the notes if every student has your notes in front of him or her on the tablet?  Could notes be in blog format and kids respond to portions of them as you're "delivering" them?  Any ideas along these lines?

How about taking notes on a shared Google document. Everyone can participate, and the resulting document can be the focus of the discussion.

 

I ask kids the focus question. They take notes on a shared document -- first they find a clean spot in the document and type their name to claim that spot. Then they begin their notes in that spot. Students can insert horizontal lines to separate their areas.   Sheri

 

I put the Google sign-in as a Home Page Document on the iPad. Students just click to open it, log in. If it's not in their document folder, they can go to my class site with the link to access it.

Great idea. That would be so much better with tablets than laptops.

After being back from vacation for one week now, I have had some time to play with the tablet...

 

To answer Scott's question regarding cutting down on the time spent "taking" notes and investing more time to "analyzing" the notes... my feedback would be YES! 

 

I personally have always thought the concept of copying notes from the board is stupid, but as I teacher I didn't know how to get around that, especially with trying to cut down on the number of copies made in reprographics. I think the tablet would be a great asset in that regard. I would love to put the notes on my website and have students download them to their tablet. Then perhaps they could use a program on the tablet to write a personal set of notes about the discussions we have about the concepts in class and their applications... not the definitions themselves.

 

Other feedback I have about the tablets in regard for use with my own chemistry students and the hope of using a Flexbook instead of a paper textbook: 

  • The tablet would provide access to the Flexbook while at school and at home.
  • The tablet would provide access to homework assignments that I would no longer have to get photocopied or rely on the students to have internet access at home. Students can download the homework assignment from my website to work on in class and then have the problems on the tablet to work on at home. OR the tablets could come with assignments pre-loaded on the hard drive at the beginning of the year. 
  • The tablets come with a program for word processing and spreadsheets. I think that this could be an important step to having students do their lab reports electronically and submit them electronically. 
  • The tablet could have a scientific calculator app downloaded so that we would no longer have to purchase a classroom set of calculators. 
  • I am told that the tablets can be used as a PRS device, as opposed to having to check out the PRS system from the library. This would be very quick to use as a Do Now activity, rather than investing a lot of time to set up and pass out the current PRS devices. 
  • The tablet could provide a periodic table with reference values.
  • The tablets could provide students to collaborate in blogs, discussion forums, and create wikis without having to check out a laptop cart every day (which is impractical).

 

Concerns I have in the "negative" side: 

Will the tablets come with a carrying case or sleeve so they do not get scratched up in the students' bookbags (or dirt, crumbs, and other trash floating in their bookbags clog up the ports on the tablet)? Will they use the tablet to download porn and distribute it? Will they be obsessed with the fact that you can take pictures with the tablet (...I do think that the camera/video feature could be of great use to enhancing assignments)? What if they lose the power chord? Who is responsible for buying a new one? How long with the tablets' battery hold out if the students uses it every day, all day for 180 school days? Will we be purchasing keyboards for the tablets? How easily will they break??

 

Let me know your thoughts!

Beth

Beth - thanks for taking the time to give such a thorough evaluation.  Very thoughtful.

 

You raise some good questions that we will have to answer along the way.  At this point in time I think it would make sense to have class sets of docking stations.  That way that can be used by teachers when needed and maybe even checked out by students when they need to take one home.

 

Battery life is a good question.  I guess we'll get a good idea about that if we who are testing them really use them a lot.

 

Good thought about the cameras - I can definitely see a teacher making use of this feature.

 

Rules/procedures/etc will have to be established prior to distribution - and even then we will be in a pilot, which means we might change some of those rules, etc.  Someone posted on here recently that there school has kids purchase an "insurance policy" that replaces the tablet if lost or stolen.  Probably worth looking into.

 

Carrying cases would be a great idea.  I ordered one but it was the wrong size.  I'll have to try again.

I posted some links for research I am doing on the iPad in classrooms. The links may be of help to you:

http://www.classroom20.com/profiles/blogs/ipad-resources

Thanks, Sheri.  I hope the teachers from my school will take a look at the resources you have listed.  Much appreciated.

Well, Monday all our kids came to class with their iPads and were very excited to have them. No problems yet, and I, as an economics, government , world history, and debate teacher am very excited. I plan on having notes available to annotate on the iPad so we can better research important topics with our iPads. In some classes I will mix it up so students sometimes have to take handwritten notes to prepare them for the universities where this is still a standard. Anyway, having the iPads is amazing and I will check in from time to time or answer questions when I see them appear.
Thanks for sharing, Mark.  Glad it went well.  Keep us posted.  We probably won't start our pilot until around the 2nd semester so we'll have some time to learn from your school.  One thing I'm sure we'll want to hear about it are the rules/procedures/logistics you all use.  What happens if one breaks?  What happens if a kid loses the tablet?  What if a student misuses it - ex. downloads something inappropriate or uses it to send a threatening text to another student?  I figure we'll want to have a plan in place ahead of time for this sort of thing.

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