For my students, any time they can get their hands on technology, or I let them play on the SmartBoard, they are as happy as can be. For most of them, an iPad is more comfortable to use than paper and pencil, so any lesson that I can alter to use technology is going to be more successful in my classroom.
Recently we have been working on physical geography, specifically landforms. Most of my students already know their landforms, if I give them a name they can give me the definition. However, when talking to an 8th grade teacher (I teach 7th grade) they mentioned that they struggle with students being able to identify an example of the landforms. Yes, they know the definition of a peninsula, but they can’t point to one on a map. The real life connection is missing for the students because all they have done is memorize words and definitions.
This year, I am making sure that we focus on that real life connection using my students’ favorite thing, technology! My district installed a Reflector app (http://www.airsquirrels.com/reflector/) on all of the teacher’s computers to make iPad presentations easier. You can wirelessly show anything that is on your iPad through your computer when it is hooked up to a projector, my favorite part being the wireless so that I can still roam around the room and not be tied to a cord.
I set each student up with an atlas and an iPad, give them a landform, and then they have to find an example in the atlas and take a picture with their iPad. As the students finish taking their pictures I randomly choose 4-6 to mirror their picture through my computer onto the SmartBoard. This gives the entire class multiple examples to look at, if they didn’t find an example they can then flip in their atlas to one of the examples on the board, and if an example is incorrect we can talk about why and discuss which landform it is an example of.
My students love doing this activity with Doodle Buddy(https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/doodle-buddy-paint-draw-scribble/id313232441) also as a review game or an introduction to a new concept. My blog on visual vocabulary can also be integrated with technology using Doodle Buddy and the Reflector app.