Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Nexus 7 Tablets Given a Test Drive by Second Graders

By Second Grade Teacher Julie Stewart

Anytime a class set of items enters a classroom, there needs to be an organized method to monitor them.  I realized that our new tablets could be managed just as easily as anything else in my classroom.  I would just use the classroom student identification numbers I assigned the students on the first day of school.  This would ensure that each student would always get their own tablet.  (I will let you know why this is so important to me in a later post.)  I made labels with their last names and ID numbers.  I took a photo of each box with their last name and number.  I then attached the labels to the back of the Nexus 7 tablets.  After attaching the label to the tablet, I took a simple colored dot with the ID number written on it and attached that to the box.  (This was cheaper than using label tape!)  This allowed me to store the boxes and remember which tablet belonged with which box and have a file stored with this information.  Beth and I also opted to leave the clear plastic film on the tablets to help protect the screens for as long as possible.  We figured that this was better than nothing for the time being.  We shall see how long this packaging film lasts as our cheap screen protector!

After getting the tablets marked with ID numbers and handed out to their new owners, we were finally ready to get started!  I gave the students a brief overview of the Nexus 7,  how to turn it on, and basic care and handling.  Since the students had already set-up their Google accounts the week before the tablets arrived, it was so simple to have them enter their information after turning them on. Oh, there were a few who had to try it a couple of  times, but it really was easier than I thought it was going to be.  The only minor glitch was when it came to the step where the wireless security code needed to be entered into the tablets to allow for an internet connection.  I realized that I had to put that information into each tablet myself!  It happened to be our lunch and recess time, so I was able to get it all done by the time the students got back to class.   Needless to say, they were pretty happy that I had every tablet ready to go.  Their excitement was pretty high at this point.

After all of the start-up steps were completed, they were ready to take their tablets for a test drive.  The first thing they wanted to do was visit was Google Earth!  It was a simple and easy first task. Their first couple of stops on their virtual trip was their house and our school.  Then one of the students suggested that we visit different countries.  It was not long before most of them were gathered around the world map in our classroom and found the places they wanted to see.  By the end of the class period, I believe that every continent had been visited by my classroom travelers.  This proved to be a very exciting virtual field trip.  I think the most exciting moment that I captured in a photo was when two students found out that they could visit Paris!  It was a great teacher and student moment!

We definitely had a great first lesson with our new tablets.  Our test drive was a huge success!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Second Grade Teacher’s Dream Fulfilled With the Arrival of the Nexus 7 Tablets

By Second Grade Teacher Julie Stewart

It is just about a year ago when I told Beth Mossholder, our resident Google Certified Teacher and technology teacher, that I was going to try to find a way to get tablets into my classroom.  Little did I know that I could actually make it happen!  After attending the Google Apps for Education Rocky Mountain Summit this past August, I knew I had to get the 21st century into my classroom for more than just one day a week when my class had a technology class.  When I saw the opportunity offered from the Ed Tech Team to place Nexus 7 tablets into the hands of students for a pilot program, I knew this was my chance to make this a reality.  I applied and am now thrilled to be part of this amazing journey that has already opened the world up to my students.

September 24, 2012 marked the beginning of this amazing journey for my second grade class with the arrival of our classroom set of Nexus 7 tablets.  We had been following the shipment via UPS with their tracking system, so when we saw that they were in Colorado at a UPS depot just miles from our school, the class could hardly sit still!  The school office was alerted to make the phone call once the truck arrived with this very special delivery.  Beth and I knew our world was about to change in a matter of hours.

The phone finally rang with our much anticipated phone call.  I quickly got the students to line up; how I managed that I will never know!  I went two doors down from my classroom to get Beth as my second graders followed me like little ducklings all in a row.  We started to hurry down the long hallway when hurrying suddenly turned into something similar to running.  The chatter of  happy voices disturbing every classroom along the way was priceless!  Little faces peered out from behind classroom doors as we made our way to the school office.  We were greeted with a smiling UPS delivery man with the special delivery from the Ed Tech Team!

This had to be the best day ever for my second graders!  The addition of these tablets is going to change the way my students learn this school year and beyond into their futures.  The 21st century has arrived in my classroom, and I cannot wait to see where it takes us.

Thank you, Ed Tech Team, for making a dream come true.  Our journey has just begun and what a ride it is going to be!