Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Here We Go

The rumble of the roller bags signaled the beginning of the first day of school.  Three hundred and sixty five middle school students arrived this morning, and they'll be coming back for 179 more days (not that I'm counting).  For a such a busy school day, I was surprised by the number of students who came by to checkout books, which was fantastic. My previously full new bookshelf is looking a little bare now.

The big event of the day was the iPad rollout.  After lunch, advisors gave out the iPads in their advisory groups.  The students then worked their way together through a guided Google Site loaded with short instructional videos, which our tech coordinator created.  They learned about acceptable use of the iPads, and they opened accounts in some of the educational apps our teachers will be using.

All students had to create an Evernote account today.  This will most likely be our major educational support tool.  All teachers are required to create assignment sheets in Evernote and then share them globally so that students and parents can easily see nightly homework.  Though our school has been using Google Docs for quite some time, the students saw an overview of the mobile version.  We ended the afternoon exploring Goodreader.  We showed the students how to import pdfs into Goodreader and then annotate them.

Today was not as painful as it could have been.  Many advisors were worried about being responsible for teaching the students about technology that they have not fully grasped.  I totally understand that; thankfully, the videos did a lot of the work in guiding the learners.  Tomorrow we continue with the Google Site and end with a test.  Students must complete the examination before they are able to take the devices home.  Then the fun will really start.

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