Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Power of the Camera by Heather Canty

The Power of the Camera 

There is so much power with the camera in the iPad.  In my classroom, the iPad is a learning and assessment tool.  And one of the most powerful ways to use the iPad has nothing to do with an app.  Here are some ways I use the iPad camera.

Anchor charts

In reading and writing workshop, I create anchor charts, which are just visual reminders of what I have taught them.  The anchor chart grows as our learning grows, and when it's done it is graduated from the easel to the bulletin board so that students can reference it while they are working independently.  Before all students had their own ipad, if they needed some information from the chart they would have to get up and go to it, which wasn't always helpful because their work was still at their desk.  Now, with students each having their own ipad, I have students take pictures of the anchor charts when we graduate them to the bulletin board.  They have folders organized by subject where they keep the pictures of the anchor charts, and then whenever they need to reference them they can pull them right up and have it with them while they are working.  It has really increased how often the kids call upon their prior learning.  


Having a classroom of 22 kids makes it difficult to get around to help, or listen in to, all students in any given subject area or block of time.  Using the video camera on the ipad, I can instantly listen in on what ALL students are doing, and then make a plan for future teaching or feedback.  For example, the kids have been working on doing a better job of their partner conversations during reading.  During their daily partner share time at the end of reader's workshop, I often get to listen in to about 2 partnerships.  I wanted to get a feel for how the partner talk was going overall, so I asked students to video their partner conversation one day, and then submit to me through google classroom.  I was then able to watch all 11 partner conversations in action, and I now know exactly what I need to teach them to take them to the next level.  This is just one of several videos they have submitted that have allowed me access to all students in a short period of time.


At the end of every math unit, students take an assessment.  Inevitably, every time I give a math assessment there are students who turn them in having skipped some questions, or having misread the directions.  And, I often have students raising their hands during the test to ask questions that are actually already answered in the test itself.  Now that all students have ipads, I import a copy of the test, and create a short video in which I read the questions and directions to the kids, show them where to do their work, and give them reminders.  They can then play the video while they are taking the test, and start and stop it at their own pace.  I no longer get tests turned in unfinished, have students not following directions, and I almost never see a single hand raised during the test.  Having access to this gives students the power to really show their math skills without anything else getting in the way!  

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