When I started my teaching career, if someone had asked me if I had a desire to implement the newest technology in my classroom, they would have heard a resounding NO! It's not because I don't like technology, but just a few years ago teachers were being asked to implement a lot of technology, many times without a lot of training. Then, I was asked to teach READ 180. Let's just say, I was scared of the idea of having brand new, very expensive computers in my room. Honestly, even though I was really nervous, I am so thankful for what technology has done for my students and it wasn’t near as painful as I thought it was going to be to become proficient with the technology myself. Just when I was feeling confident and masterful using desktops computers in my READ 180 classes, enters the iPads!
READ 180 has continued to evolve and grow with mainstream technology. Two years ago, our school districted decided to do 1 to 1 iPads for all 8th grade students. Again, there was fear, I had never even held an iPad in my hand much less used one. Except this time, I was truly more excited that afraid because I had been hearing about the iPad apps that were available for READ 180. In my experience, one of the things to remember when implementing new technology like iPads is that even if it is a bumpy start, keep at it. We struggled at first, however, when I allowed my students to help, I realized that it was a great opportunity for some of them to shine with their technology expertise.
The first year, we started out using the iPads for the eReads and eLibrary. I found my students excited and engaged at doing the same thing they had been doing on a desktop, just because it was on this new device. When we were proficient with using the iPads as an e-reader, we started taking Reading Counts Quizzes. Very quickly, this is now my students' favorite way to take their quizzes. As soon as they log in, it shows them their Books Read, Words Read, and their accrued points. There are also some new congratulations screens when they pass their quizzes. I love how these little things can give BIG motivation to my students. Last year, we got brave with the iPads! We used them for the SRI by logging on through the internet browser. We also used them for the rSkills tests and daily READ 180 software usage. I hope that you give iPads a try in your classroom, they have enhanced what we do in a fun and meaningful way. You can find the apps in the iTunes app store.