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The iPad Grant!!!! February 3, 2011

Posted by fafeeley in Uncategorized.

My library program was awarded an iPad Grant! This means that my school library will be provided 32 iPads, covers for the units, a Mac laptop to support updates, and a secure case for storage and charging. This competitive grant was awarded to a number of individual classrooms in schools around the city and to five school library programs. The funding for this investment is being provided primarily by the State of Illinois. Training and oversight of the program are being provided by the Chicago Public Schools Technology Education Department and the Department of Libraries and Information Services.

I am very excited about this development, and my school community is, too. Current winners of the grant represent the second wave of schools in CPS to initiate instruction with the use of iPads. I am looking forward to this opportunity to be an early adoptor of this innovation in the schools. I am also looking forward to being part of a new learning community in the next year and a half. All winners will attend required training sessions and participate in other activities that will involve the exchange of ideas and resources to maximize the use of iPad technology in instruction. Can’t wait!

Last winter around this time I submitted a bold proposal for a presentation at the annual conference of the Illinois School Library Media Association in October 2010. I say “bold” because at the time I wrote it I had not yet mastered the tools I would need to master to make that presentation a reality. Today I wrote a proposal for next fall’s conference. Here is the text:

iPads: Lessons From an Early Adoptor
3rd-8th grade
This session features successful curriculum projects executed using iPads, iPad applications, and other online tools and resources with student work products across multiple grade-levels. Also offered are ideas for iPad use to facilitate differentiated instruction and tips for efficient sharing and circulation of units inside and outside the school library.

I am finding it powerful to write a proposal first and then do whatever it takes later to deliver what I promise. By promising these skills by the fall I have established three areas to focus on in the coming months regarding the iPad use: curriculum projects, differentiated instruction, and circulation. The proposal is vague enough (as usual) that I have lots of wiggle room regarding what I actually do. The details will be filled in later. Meanwhile by putting my goals in writing I have taken the first step!

The end of the 2nd quarter was just as harrowing as the end of the 1st quarter. However, I am happy to say that the kids completed their projects. The work quality was better. The grades were better. I am pleased with most of the work posted on the page dedicated to this project, which can be accessed here. We “specials teachers” saw our 2nd quarter students on the first two days of the 3rd quarter to give them time to provide feedback to each other. So, unlike last quarter, the students had the time view and listen to each others’ voicethreads and to provide systematic feedback to each other by completing a Google-generated survey about each voicethread.

In the 3rd quarter the students will be studying and analyzing the International Declaration of Human Rights (adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948). Working in pairs, they will select one of the thirty articles in the declaration; analyze its meaning; identify and report about a current day example of where the right embodied in the article is being honored and an example of where it is not being honored; identify action being taken to improve the situation where the right is not being honored; and identify action that can be taken by ordinary citizens to expand the realization of this right in today’s world. More to come on that!

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