Task: Students were given duct tape to create a composite figure on the floor tiles. Next, they were required to calculate the area and perimeter with the appropriate formulas. Finally, they used the iPads to create a Popplet. Their product included a picture of their figure, and explanations for their area and perimeter calculations. Here are some pictures of the compound figures created by the students.
Reflection: This was an effective lesson that was enhanced by technology. While this activity could have been done without Popplet, the iPads allowed the students to make a permanent recording of their creative shapes. This task probably falls under the Augmentation strand according to the the SAMR model. However, there are many reasons why I believe it was a success. First, the app significantly improved the students’ attitudes about writing. Most students do not understand the importance of expressing their mathematical ideas verbally. When we have writing assignments, many students struggle, do not give their best effort, or complain about having to write in math class. I did not see or hear any negative reactions to writing their thoughts on Popplet, and I saw many great examples of written mathematical ideas. Next, the app was easy to navigate. At our induction training, we were told not to spend much time explaining apps and programs to the students. They were right. I spent only one minute showing them the general features of Popplet. This is the second week in a row the students have impressed me with their quick grasp of a new program. In addition, I felt very comfortable troubleshooting with the iPads. I gained confidence by helping students with features or settings that presented them minor difficulties.
There were some concerns that went along with the lesson as well. First, there were many students I had to keep a close eye on because they wanted to play games on the iPads. I was also surprised at how careless some of the students were with their iPads, as they were left in the halls or misplaced in the classroom. It will be important for me to establish high expectations for technology care in my digital classroom so that we do not lose or damage any of the devices. In addition, several students were familiar with Popplet, and they said it was not the right platform for this activity. In the future, I would like to give them more choices of apps for presenting information.
Conclusion: Overall, I believe this was a good experience for the students. I learned more about managing the iPads, and the students used an app that can help them in all of their classes. While I am looking forward to designing lessons on the Redefinition side of the SAMR model, this was a good start for my students, and they demonstrated their knowledge of an important concept.