The rapid tap of an icon, the eagerness to compete with their classmates, the dinging of the bell that signals to the student that time is up, the look of accomplished when they move to the next level, these are signs of engagement; these signs represent students who are engaged in learning. Just as myself, my students thrive on "doing." They want to compete, create, and share their achievements. Just because one struggles, does not mean they don't want the challenge.
My class is composed of both reluctant and struggling readers, who anticipate excitement, but turn away from mundane activities.
They grasp skills being taught when given the correct tools, but when handed the wrong one, they shut down and give up on what could be a piece of art. I want to give them what they need for their toolbox, so they can use all those tools to create a successful learning path for themselves.
Students will use these iPads to reinforce the skills they have been taught by engaging in various apps that enable them to compete with peers or even against themselves. Applications that are found on iPads are not limited to just gaming style tools. I intend to have an electronic library stored on each device so that students can read any story that might not be readily accessible in our school library. Since I teach in a pull-out classroom, my students are those that read behind grade level. Therefore my students will also benefit from audio books that can easily be obtained and stored on these devices.
When you have students in your classroom who are reluctant to pay attention and participate, you don't just move past them, you find what speaks to them, or drives them to want to learn.
As the teacher we must give them the tools they need in order to shape their learning path. My classroom is made up of wonderful students with a great deal of potential to create the right path to success. They just need another tool. Please help me place this engaging technology tool in their educational toolbox.
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