Wednesday, December 9, 2015

More Celebrations than Challenges! 

When I last posted, I was feeling frustration and stress because I didn't feel completely in control of the technology. As with any new implementation (technology or otherwise), I had some anxiety because of change. This happens whenever I try anything new in the classroom, so I don't know why it surprised me. Stress from change is nothing new to me! That doesn't mean the new strategies aren't valuable; it just means that I need to realize that the stress is normal and that it will dissipate as I become more proficient at what I’m learning to do.

All that being said, I know that there are some things I’ve done in the classroom that have lessened my stress and made the iPads even more valuable to my students!

One of the biggest things I’ve done (that caused some anxiety in me that I don’t understand at all now) is invite students to bring their own devices. That’s right. First graders bringing their own devices. I thought it was crazy and didn’t think I would have any takers. I have four students who bring iPads every day. I have two others who bring them 3-4 days per week. This allows us to work 2:1 on most iPad projects. This is COMPLETELY DOABLE for every task we’ve attempted. Sometimes I have so many iPads in my room that students don’t have a partner if they don’t want to have a partner!

Students work together on a personal device to create a KidPicCollage.

What I’ve learned about BYOD:
·        Ask parents to preload devices with the apps you plan to use.
·        If parents don’t mind, ask them to show/teach their students how to download apps. Some parents prefer to do it themselves with 1st graders, but I imagine that more upper grades parents will allow their students to download.
·        Remind students to take them home each day. Amazingly, the students who forget to take their water bottles and lunchboxes home rarely forget to take their iPads home! J
·        It’s really easy and makes a huge difference in the classroom!!

I also began using an app that COMPLETELY changed how I viewed student products on iPads, both literally and figuratively. I set up a classroom on Seesaw, which is “a student-driven digital portfolio that empowers students to independently document what they are learning at school.” What this really means is that students can upload their work so that you can access it from your computer, your phone or your iPad! If you want, you can provide parent access so that their parents see what they are doing in class! You can provide feedback via comments, as can other students (if you set it up that way). There are settings that allow you to approve all work/comments so that nothing is viewable that you don’t allow. Students can also take pictures of the work they do in their learning journals to share with their parents (instead of waiting until the end of the school year).
You can share links with specific people like this:

 or this:

This is the view from my phone:
This is the view from my phone. Sadie can see my comment.

This is another student's product. I was able to easily download it from Seesaw.

I really encourage you to invite your students to bring their devices to school. I’ll be happy to help type up an email to parents if you are interested! I also encourage you to start using Seesaw in your classroom. I can help you. Jacque Prater can help you. My team is jumping on board with it now, so I’m sure they can help you, too!


  1. Great job, Kristi! I appreciate how you have promoted BYOD and used it to your and your student's advantage in your classroom. Please let us know how else we can support you.

  2. Great post! I LOVE when students bring their own devices. The only trouble I run into is when parents have downloaded apps that are meant to keep students safe from inappropriate outside stuff (ya know...) I have at least one student who can't use Kahoot on her own device because her web app blocks it.

    And I LOVE LOVE LOVE Seesaw both as a parent and teacher!

  3. You're so awesome for treading into unfamiliar territory and overcoming your fears of it because you knew your students would benefit from it in the long run! Good for you for putting them first in that way and not letting that uneasy feeling get in the way of 21st century learning! I'm sure it means more work for you as you begin incorporating this into (or replacing) what you've been doing in the past as well, but now you have great new ways to teach your future students. Their future teachers appreciate it, I'm sure!

  4. Way to go, Mrs. Williams! I am always so excited to see your students so engaged with technology in your room! You all use the iPads so seamlessly in your lessons and it's awesome to watch those little first graders become so proficient with technology. I would have been worried about them bringing their own devices, but they have done so well!!