This past year has been a learning experience for me. My classroom was chosen to be an implementation classroom for a 1 to 1 iPad environment. I was so thrilled and nervous at the same time. I kept telling myself, I had done my homework - I was ready. And for the most part, I was. As with everything, there was a learning curve. At first I went through a stage where I thought it was all about the apps. That was OK for a little bit, but then I asked myself, "are my students truly learning and being challenged?" I didn't want the iPads to be thought of as devices for "playing," rather they were tools for learning. It was then, that my whole outlook started to change. I realized that I had been given a great gift and really needed to figure out how to effectively utilize the devices in a way that would positively impact student achievement.
I took a look at the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for students: http://www.iste.org/standards.aspx as well as the revised Digital Blooms: http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/Bloom%27s+Digital+Taxonomy. I realized that by just using apps for game based learning, my students were working on the opposite end of the spectrum from where I wanted them to be. They were "remembering and understanding" and I wanted them to be "creating and evaluating." This was the first big shift. I started having my students do more creating on the iPad and then evaluating each others' work. We created eBooks, videos, picture journals, etc. They reflected on Edmodo and commented on each others' posts. Many of these things I will continue to use and expand on in my classroom in the coming years... but I want more.
I have been reading up on and talking to people about Challenge Based Learning (aka: Project Based Learning). I have included a link to the Apple site which has a fairly comprehensive overview on CBL: https://challengebasedlearning.org/pages/about-cbl. I just finished reading a book by Ron Berger called "An Ethic of Excellence" which I highly recommend. I already have some ideas for projects/challenges that I want to undertake with this coming year's class which I'm really excited about. I will keep you up to date with how things are going as the projects roll themselves out!
My name is Carrie Gaffney. Someone once asked me a question that remains in the back of my mind and helps to shape my life: "How will you be remarkable?" I am continuously trying to discover new ways to answer that question.