Group Work Presentations Get an Upgrade

By on January 4, 2013

Across the United States, more and more educators are utilizing mobile devices in their classrooms. I have seen students use iPads, iPods, and other tablet devices to research information, build presentations, and play with a multitude of educational apps. Teachers use them to present their daily lessons. They use various whiteboard apps as way to model instruction, and they record their lessons so they can “flip” the classroom instruction and send it home for the students to watch.

I have always been interested in how to use technology smartly and effectively in my classroom. For the past six years, I have relied on Google and all of their wonderful applications to expose students to the types of technology they will need in college and the work world. My students build online portfolios using Google Sites, participate in online discussions with Google Groups, and engage in online peer review using Google Docs and Google+.

Needless to say, the mobile device craze has caught my attention. I’m curious about this technology. I personally enjoy using an iPad, but I want to know how this tool can be used to effectively move students forward. And like all technology that I bring into the classroom, I want to make sure mobile devices can be used to develop students’ literacy skills.

Although I continue to blend Google applications into my instruction, I took the plunge last year and requested to pilot an iPad program. To be honest, my first year with iPads didn’t yield the results I was hoping for. My students loved them, but I wasn’t using the machines to their fullest potential.

This year I learned about an application called Reflection. Let me attempt to explain how this application works. The Reflection app installs on a Mac or PC computer and leverages Apple’s AirPlay software found on iPads, iPods, and Macbooks. AirPlay is what AppleTV uses to mirror the screen on a mobile device. In other words, with Reflection, I can view my iPad screen on my Macbook. And if I plug my computer into a projector, I can project onto the screen what I see on my iPad. At this point, your imaginations should be going wild.

Here are a few ways I have been using this technology.

  • When students are working in groups, they use Apple’s Keynote or Google Docs to create presentations that summarize what they have read or done in the group and project their work from their tables. Group members take turns sharing their work with the whole class.
  • Use the iPads when jigsawing information and have the expert groups present their information to the whole class from their iPads.
  • Move students into groups. Ask a question to the whole class. Groups talk about possible answers and write their responses on their iPads. At the same time, groups share their answers on the screen. Reflection (now named Reflector) can show multiple iPads on the screen at one time.
  • Students can project a website on the screen and evaluate the credibility of the site right from their desks. We see what the students see as they scroll up and down the site they are evaluating.

Later this month, I will use my iPads to move formal presentations into the 21st century. My students will stand at the front of the room and present with the iPad. They will need to learn how to hold an iPad and read from it while making good eye contact with the audience. The iPad will have a dual purpose; it will serve as their note cards and wireless remote to advance the slides. My students were excited about this possibility. Technology always helps with motivation.

As we gain more access to mobile devices, we will have to continue to experiment and document how to most effectively use these powerful machines in education.

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Literacy Standards In Action

We've mapped our literacy lessons and reading, speaking, and writing skills to state standards, Common Core, and NGSS. The standards are "the what" to teach. Our lessons are "the how" to meet the expectations defined by the standards. Click on the links below to view our quick reference table that maps standards to literacy lessons.

Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
Make strategic use of digital media and visual displays of data to express information and enhance understanding of presentations.
Adapt speech to a variety of contexts and communicative tasks, demonstrating command of formal English when indicated or appropriate.
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