Sometimes I think I need to take on more, sometimes I think I’m doing just what I need to do, and sometimes I think I’m doing too much but I just can’t stop. This iPad journey falls into all three categories. I’d like to share some thoughts on the last category, why I can’t stop, and why that’s a good thing.
Upon learning that I would be part of the iPad pilot in my district, my expectations grew so fast and so big that I needed the advice of Jenny K. to bring me back to reality. I wanted to start on the first day of second semester with iPads in all five of my classes. I wanted to jump right in and get started as soon as possible. After reality finally set in, we decided that maybe just two classes would be a place to start. It was a good decision while I learned a lot of the little things that go along with implementing iPads–that’s for another post! But the entire time I was using the iPads with only two classes, I felt guilty. I felt like I was cheating the system. I had 30 iPads, 5 classes, 125 students and only 45 were using them. There had to be something wrong with that scenario, right? Not necessarily, you can take on too much and taking on too much, spreading yourself too thin, can lead to disaster. So what did I decide to do after third quarter? Take on too much and implement the iPads into all five classes and let all 125 students use them. There were just too many opportunities that I felt my other classes were missing out on by not using them.
I felt like I needed to implement the iPads in all of my classes so I could truly see how it would work if all students had an iPad. Talk about the shared model…..five different students used the same iPad almost every day. Now, of course, this would be different if students could take their iPads home, but nonetheless, I wanted to give it a go. Frustration set in as my fellow iPad Academy educators would share things they were doing that I knew wouldn’t work with the shared model I was using. So, I improvised and I found new ways to do the things we wanted to do. Was it always ideal or perfect? No, but the learning opportunities far outweighed the downfalls. Was I overwhelmed and wondering why there weren’t more hours in the day? Of course, but don’t we all feel like that at times? Also, I have to say this type of frustration drove me to work harder to find a solution instead of throwing up my hands and saying it just won’t work—it was a bit more fun. 🙂 I learned so much about the management of iPads and the students learned so much about protecting their work and respecting others that it turned out to be a win-win situation. It can work if you’re willing to give it a go!
I have already started thinking about how I will use the iPads next year in my classes. I have toyed with the idea of only using them in my two senior classes, but I always come back to the opportunities they have provided for my sophomore/junior classes that I just can’t take that opportunity away. This is not the path for everyone, and I wouldn’t expect everyone to do it this way but it’s the way I want to do it. Maybe it’s too much, but sometimes taking on too much is okay. I just can’t stop!