Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Collaborating with Simplenote

The upper grade students at Burley have a number of opportunities to communicate and collaborate electronically -- student blogs and wikis, education-focused social networking, iChat, and so on -- and we often remark on how engaged and focused students are with this type of communication. Students have told us that they like the opportunity to participate at their own pace and to read the ideas of others before chiming in. They say they participate more because they can share their ideas when they have them, rather than waiting to be called on or for someone else to finish.

Simplenote is a free app that allows students to collaborate in real time using the iPad. Each iPad is set up to access a single Simplenote account. As students create their own notes, a left-hand note navigation list displays all the notes in real time. Students can pull up one another's notes to get ideas and then return to their own note to do their own writing. The teacher can access all the notes (in real time, or after the lesson) by logging in to

To make this work with the students, we developed a lesson to model effective collaboration using Simplenote. We begin by talking to students about how they usually share ideas with one another. Students say that they turn and talk, or talk in their learning groups, or listen to other people when the teacher calls on them. Then we explain that the iPad can give them a new way to share their ideas with one another. Using a document camera and projector, we demonstrate how to create a note in Simplenote. Then, we have a student use another iPad to create a note. Students notice instantly that the student note appears on the teacher's screen. The teacher then goes in to the student's note, reads it, reflects on a new idea, and then incorporates that new idea into his or her own note. We explain that the purpose is for everyone to generate ideas about a particular topic, but at the end of class, we want students to be able to share one idea they got from another student's note. We also make it clear that they can only write in their own note and talk about how it would negatively affect our ability to work together if people don't follow that rule.

As the students work, we circulate and prompt students to check one another's notes for new ideas. We ask them what ideas they have gotten from their classmates. At the end of class, we gather on the rug and view the list of notes in the web browser at Student volunteers share the ideas they got from one another as we display the notes on the screen. In this way, students can concretely see the flow of ideas from one note to another and think about how this tool can help them work together.

It's pretty exciting for the students to be able to brainstorm with continuous and ongoing collaboration with the entire class. Students who have a hard time getting started can start by reading ideas of others. Students who are eager to jump in and can't wait can begin immediately and then expand on their initial ideas after reading classmates' notes. An additional benefit is that students are building early digital citizenship skills and, of course, applying their developing writing skills in a meaningful way. We're looking forward to applying this tool in student inquiry as students generate questions and brainstorm project ideas.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

102 iPad Action!

My first graders enjoyed using the iPads for their Poetry Assembly peformance! They used the whiteboard app to enhance their images and alliteration lines.
Our class continues to use the iPads during literacy and math centers. We are beginning to use them in the content area as well. We used them to research questions we had about the solar system and will continue using them for research during our upcoming Native American unit.

Audio Recordings Promote Fluency

This week we used Recorder HD in guided reading groups to monitor our fluency. For the past few days we talked about how good readers practice reading a piece over and over to make it sound nice and smooth. One group of students read It's Super Mouse! by Phyllis Root during their guided reading groups and as a supplemental text during their independent reading time. To celebrate this text prior to moving on to a new book, a small group of students created an audio recording of It's Super Mouse. Now, all students have access to the text and audio recording at our classroom listening center. The small group of students who recorded the text debriefed on their recording and made plans for enhancing their fluency in future recordings. As they shared the recording with the class, it was obvious that the group gained confidence as readers. They were excited to hear themselves read the text and share the stories with their friends. Using the iPad to create audio books or as tools for children to self-reflect on their reading fluency is easy and fun! I can't wait to increase the opportunities for my kids to use this in the future.

Monday, November 8, 2010

In the loop

One of the key details that an iPad school has to iron out is the content loop -- how to get stuff on to the iPad, and how to get student work off the iPad and into the hands of a teacher, peer editor, or other audience. Thanks to our Apple Professional Development leader, Dr. Bruce Ahlborn, we now have a plan for how we're going to do just that.

We had considered using the free DropBox app, which seemed like a great way to get content on to the iPad -- but maybe not so smooth at sending content back to the teacher. We have decided to use a MobileMe iDisk as our shared space. Each teacher will be able to access the iDisk from their Mac's desktop. This makes it possible for teachers to manage certain types of iPad content over wifi, rather than waiting for a manual sync.

Within the iDisk, we created folders for each teacher. Within each teacher folder, students will find a TO and a FROM folder. The TO folder is where students will submit their work. The FROM folder is for PDFs, templates, graphic organizers, pages of links, etc. that the students will receive from the teacher. We labeled the TO folder with arrows and asterisks to add some visual emphasis that we hope will help our young students navigate the iDisk effectively. Unfortunately, adding colors to folders in the Finder does not result in colored folders on the iPad; that would certainly be an improvement. Eventually we plan to add a third folder where students can exchange work and create content for one another.

We are spending a planning session next week further testing and streamlining the process for using the iDisk, and then we'll be introducing it to the students. Our iPads all have Pages installed, and we plan to create templates and graphic organizers and share them via iDisk for student use. The teachers are also preparing some PDF resources to guide student learning. We discovered that when PDFs are in the iDisk and then opened in iBooks, they remain on the bookshelf -- the student does not need to navigate back to the iDisk app to access that content later. We anticipate that having our iDisk content loop in place will enable more fluid access to content (with less frequent need for hard-wired syncing), and it will also enable students to begin creating content and publishing work using the iPad.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Spelling practice, math, and word study

Second grade teachers were ready for more options in their morning literacy centers, so the students have begun using three apps to practice their weekly spelling words. Our spelling program is individualized, and each student works on his or her own list of words each week -- no small management task! The iPads are enabling students to have independent practice opportunities with their words. They're using the iPad's built-in Notes app, Whiteboard lite, and ABC Magnetic Letters Lite to write and type the words -- all free apps. At no extra cost,we now have a multimodal spelling center up and running in a matter of a day!

Last week, my colleague Kristin Ziemke Fastabend brought the whole cart of iPads to her room for her math lesson. Using Whiteboard lite, students wrote number sentences on the screen as Kristin modeled the problems with manipulatives on a projector. Students were fully engaged in the process of expressing their math knowledge -- if you've never heard students beg for more math problems, then you should have been there with our first graders!

Afterwards, Kristin remarked on how easy it was for her to help students as she circulate around the room. If a student forgot an equals sign, for example, she could use her own finger to show the child where it should have gone. The activity was more engaging and easier to manage with the iPads. Even the simple difference of starting with a "blank slate" by erasing the screen each time made it easier for Kristin to assess and check for understanding as she went along, and it enabled students to focus only on solving the problem at hand.

Another whole-class iPad activity took place in Begoña Cowan's room and was similar to the lesson that our Reading Specialist, Sally Tajkowski, wrote about in an earlier post. Each student sat on the rug with an iPad carefully on his or her lap while Begoña challenged them to sound out and spell certain word families using letter patterns they are studying. The students were fully engaged, and using virtual magnetic letters was the only thing that made this activity possible -- rather than digging noisily through a bucket of plastic magnetic letters, students were finding the letters they needed in the alphabet and focusing on the letter sounds themselves. I'll be posting a video in the next few days.

This week we will have our first visit from our intrepid iPad coach extraordinaire, Dr. Bruce Ahlborn. We can't wait!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Testing, Testing 1,2,3....

Last week we began utilizing the BlueFire app on the iPads so students can record themselves while reading. Ms. Skibba came in again to do whole group instruction explaining the steps and guidelines for doing a fluency recordings. In addition, she created handy step-by-step instructions for each student to use and follow during their time at the center. The instructions are very detailed and help students to independently problem solve before they come to me while I am working with others.

Students read a selection from a book of their choice for 30-60 seconds out loud. After reading the selection, they rewind the tape to the beginning and put on their headphones to playback their recording. They are then able to listen to themselves reading the selection. This is such an excellent tool to give them a whole new dimension of listening to their words and reading. They can hear their voice, inflection, and fluency all within one small selection. Additionally, it allows them to hear mistakes they may be making but not catching while reading.

I have to say I was so impressed by my students and their work with the fluency recordings. I was a tad bit nervous about the noise levels while students were recording, but so far they have handled themselves wonderfully while at the center.

I would also like to say a big thank you to Ms. Skibba and Mrs. Sanders for coming in and helping to get things running last week! We are all so excited to continue learning and utilizing more tools on the iPads.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Reading Specialist Uses the IPads

I LOVE the iPad! Today was my second day using iPads with my guided reading groups. Each day I teach a phonics or word work mini lesson that corresponds with the guided reading book. Today I used the iPads with three first grade groups and a second grade group using the awesome ABC Magnetic Letters App. I demonstrated sounding out three letter words with my beginning readers in first grade. Instead of using a white board to draw each letter as I sounded it out, I used the iPad App to drag the letters on to the screen as I said the corresponding sound. The students were absolutely engrossed in this routine activity! I guess iPads are vastly more interesting to look at than a whiteboard! The students then used the iPads to sound out words on their own. It was wonderful to see how engaged the children were in sounding out and writing words. This App replaces both the whiteboard and magnetic letters that we sometimes use for word work. It can be frustrating for kids to search and search for a magnetic letter they can't find when creating words. With this App, the time it took to complete the minilesson was nearly cut in half because the letters are in alphabetical order and easier to find.

During the minilesson for a different first grade group, we worked on word families, such as hear, dear, and fear. It was so easy for children to write "ear" on the iPad and switch out the first letter to create new words in the family. During my second grade group, I used the iPads to teach about different endings on base words such as s, ed, and ing. The students immediately understood that the base word stays the same, such and the word "jump" and by switching out the "s" for the "ed" and "ing", it changes the meaning of the word.

In all three lessons, the children were excited to be using the iPads, the iPads had a meaningful and useful connection to the lesson, and their use decreased the total time to complete the minilesson. It's a win, win, win!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Lesson learned: be explicit!

You know how the first time you teach something you tend to overlook some key details? Kicking off the fluency recordings went sort of like that. By now (day 3), we've worked out the kinks. But it wasn't very smooth on our first try.

We were working with a group of 5 second graders at a time. The kids are using the built-in mics to record, and it took a fair amount of practice to get the students to speak at an appropriate volume, because I hadn't thought to model that. Since students practice being audible when reading to a live audience, they were a bit too audible for their practice recordings. This resulted in a lot of background noise on all the first recordings and general irritation on the part of our second graders. I also had forgotten to point out where the microphone is located and that recording on the iPad works best if they flip it around so the microphone and headphone jack are closest to them. These were issues that hadn't turned up when I tested it alone in an empty classroom -- the reality of a group of students working in a bustling classroom pointed out my blind spots pretty quickly.

Also, I had been so pleased with my lovely Blue Fire Screen Shots I neglected to realize that second graders wouldn't necessarily have the strategies to use a step-by-step guide like that. As with any reading and comprehension of printed materials, you have to be explicit.

Finally, my first attempt at a rubric was a little confusing for some kids. I revised it to make the layout more clear; here's the revised rubric.

Yesterday I introduced the fluency center to a second classroom of students, and what a difference! I modeled the appropriate volume and showed them how to monitor their own volume by watching the size of the "bumps" on screen. I showed them how to think of the headphone cable as an arrow pointing to where they should talk. Maybe most importantly, I went step by step through the Screen Shots and modeled how to use them as a resource when they aren't sure what to do. I also modeled completion of the Fluency Self-Check Rubric after a single recording and how to start again at the beginning for a second try.

I know "teach explicitly" isn't the most earth-shattering advice, but I think it is easy to overestimate what is intuitive for kids about technology, or to forget what issues will arise once the devices are in use by groups of students. I made the mistake of assuming a little too much and not being clear and explicit enough with the kids about the directions and the expectations. I forgot to show everything, not just tell. In an attempt take less classroom time with my explanation, I was less effective.

As a result of better teaching and more modeling, it's no surprise that the second and third days of fluency recordings were a huge improvement over the first. Now, we see the students reading, listening, reflecting, re-reading, practicing, and improving. The students were engaged and excited and genuinely focused on reading the passage better and better each time. We couldn't be more delighted with the students' progress -- as well as our own!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fluency recordings

We're starting fluency recordings this week! We'll be testing out some screen shots we made to help students navigate Blue Fire and a self-check rubric to guide their practice.

Next steps: getting ready for inquiry

Although we are still adjusting to the routines in our literacy centers, we are ready to begin using the iPads in our content area instruction and inquiry. A little background: our faculty has both studied and been featured in a book/DVD series by Stephanie Harvey and Harvey "Smokey" Daniels entitled Comprehension and Collaboration: Inquiry Circles in Action. Inquiry-based learning has led to increased student choice and engagement, deep and meaningful questioning, and real-world advocacy and action. Our iPad grant proposal centered around incorporating the iPad into all the stages of student inquiry for our first and second graders, in addition to supporting their literacy development. Now that we have a good foundation for using the iPads in literacy centers, we are ready to integrate them into into content area instruction.

Our first step will be to use multimedia to inspire student questioning and build background knowledge. Teachers are preparing slide shows and selecting web sites about their upcoming content area units, and these will be used alongside print resources in the classroom to help guide students as they wonder about the content and plan their learning. First and second graders are visual learners, and the iPads bring them the ability to access, manipulate, and think about images at their own pace. Images inspire wondering and questioning. Questions build student interest and frame future research. Questioning is a key component in the inquiry process, and I think the iPads will make it a richer, more engaging experience for the students.

Students will be using the app Simplenote to list the questions they have as they view the images and slide shows. I have become a little obsessed with Simplenote today -- as the name implies, it's incredibly simple. Students can create their own notes on individual iPads, and the teacher can view them all in real time in a single browser window. I'll post again once I see how it works in practice, but my test runs have been left me very optimistic. And best of all, it's free!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

First Graders rock the iPad

The first graders had been waiting patiently for their turn with the iPads, and this week they got their chance. I modified the sight word video format to include only 10 words instead of the 25 I had given the second graders, and this was a good move. I am going to stick with that format for both first and second graders. It's much easier and more pleasant for the kids to complete a 10 word video and start a second one if time permits than to start a 25 word video and not finish. You can subscribe to download our sight word videos here.

I was especially excited by how the kids are interacting with the content in the videos. They were reading and writing the word, then listening to the word, and cheering quietly for themselves when the movie confirmed that they had read the word correctly. I heard repeated exclamations of, "I read that one right!" and "I knew that one!" It's always tricky to design materials that will have kids engage actively with the content, rather than just clicking along, and it seems that these videos have worked for this group of kids.

I'll also say this about making media for kids: use music. Danceable music. I deliberated about this a little bit, but I found that having a little beat running through these videos really kept things fun and engaging for the kids and seemed to help them focus. Plus, who doesn't like a good beat?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

109 Loves the iPads!

Hello! I am Kelly Johnson and I teach reading and writing with the 2nd graders at Burley in the mornings. My students are so excited about using iPads in the classroom, as am I. I am new to "blogging" so I apologize if my first few appear a bit off-centered and not totally awesome.

We began using iPads in our classroom last Friday. Ms. Skibba came in and talked to our whole class about how we will be using them in class and the proper procedures for use. We were all so excited, we couldn't wait to get started.

In order to get the students acclimated with using the iPads, we began by having them watch a video to practice sight words. Students had to learn how to adjust the volume, pause and play the video and rewind to the beginning.

As a sight word came up, students paused the video then wrote the word on a paper. This exposed them to the seeing a word visually, hearing it in a sentence, and writing the word themselves.

The students worked their way through 25 words and then were able to switch programs and go into an application called "Spell Blocks" to practice spelling words. This gave students an opportunity to practice moving around on the iPad, switching programs, and using their fingers to navigate.

I know my students love having the iPads incorporated into our reading program. I think it gives them the opportunity to to utilize yet another tool for learning. I look forward to updating this blog as we continue to use the iPads and incorporate more tools for the students to use. 109 is so very grateful for this opportunity!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Taking Ownership

One of our second grade classes is on its third day using the iPads in their literacy centers, and another class just got started today. It was interesting to sit in on both our "veteran" (of three days) class and our beginning class and notice the difference a few days has made. In the more experienced class, students navigated smoothly to a new sight word video, reset the video upon finishing, and then started the Spell Blocks with Sight Words app. Without prompting, students began to explore the settings in Spell Blocks with Sight Words to adjust the challenge level to meet their needs.
In contrast, the beginning class was still in teacher-directed mode and struggled a bit just to get the movie to play and pause as they wished.

Navigation issues aside, I feel the veteran class is starting to think differently about the iPad and to look for ways they can customize it to their needs. This is something we anticipated
would happen, and I am
glad to see it happening so soon -- so our planning discussions will now turn to differentiation and how we can use the iPads to customize the learning experience for individual students.

Students are also taking increasing ownership of the management of the equipment. Each room has a team of three students who go to the cart, unplug the iPads, and carry them to the classroom. They take this job very seriously!

There has been so much progress over the last three days, and I can't wait to see what next week will bring.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

First day with student literacy centers!

Today our second graders started using the iPads in their literacy centers. We set up the iPads so there are three screens of apps -- one for literacy practice, one for art and publication, and a third for teacher apps. As each group of 5 students came to the center, I showed them how to navigate through the screens and, specifically, how to navigate a video. There was a little confusion between the video progress bar (at the top) and the volume slider (near the playback controls), so that was something we talked about.

For today's content, we used a sight word video that prompted students to read the word silently, pause the movie, write the word, and then listen to the word and a sentence including the word. Sight word recognition will help second graders build reading fluency and comprehension, and practicing sight words is always an important activity in the early months of the school year. Without exception, the activity went smoothly and students were engaged throughout. I am thinking of making a companion video to this one that will present the words in more rapid succession to help with memorization. The current video is more of a guess-and-check model, where students can check their reading by hearing the word after they've had some time to read it to themselves.

Tomorrow we will use the Spell Blocks with Sight Words application as a second literacy center activity, and then begin the fluency recordings. I will also teach the student tech teams how to set up the literacy center themselves. We are so excited to be underway!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Numbering the iPads

So this may not be the most earth shattering revelation, but I think it was a small stroke of genius on the part of our excellent Apple Professional Development trainer, Bruce Ahlborn. Rather than relying on the numbers we have hand-written on the outside of the silicone cases to tell which iPad is which, we are also making jpeg images in Keynote that have the iPad number on them in a large font, and those will become the iPad wallpaper. Simple, visible, helpful, and won't rub off -- an incredibly helpful detail!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Almost ready...

Next week we will start using the iPads in our second grade literacy centers. We have been working on some student pre-surveys to learn a bit about their current confidence level with technology and their level of awareness of different types of technology-based learning tasks. Because the students are so young, this process has been a bit of a challenge! My general impression so far is that kids have some awareness of using technology to play games and perhaps to find some information, and I can't wait to see how their knowledge and confidence grow over the course of the year.

There has been a good deal of behind the scenes activity since school began September 7. Finding affordable protective cases was a mundane but necessary step. After much consideration, we ended up with the delightfully named Minisuit by Vizu, which we selected for its affordable price, ease of application, and variety of color options (and perhaps partially for its fabulous name). We want kids to be able to readily identify which set of iPads belongs in their classroom, and color coding seemed like a pretty good way to do this. Sadly, the screen protectors that come with the Minisuit aren't going to cut it, and the Minisuits themselves really seem to attract classroom dust and grit -- but for the price, I still think it was a reasonable choice.

We are also working on finalizing the apps and content that will be on the iPads for their initial use. While introducing the iPads, we plan to have students using teacher-created vodcasts to practice their reading sight words and also using the Blue Fire app to record themselves reading and practice fluency.

Monday, September 20, 2010

So Excited.....

I am looking forward to creating stories for the iPads. Tina, Kelly, & I have been discussing creating a book to support our pioneer unit. :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

First Impressions

As Carolyn and Tina mentioned before, the iPad training last week was incredibly useful and exciting. There were frequent eruptions of “Ooh!” – “Wow!” – “Cool!” from the squad of iPad grant recipients as we navigated our way through a host of new software and tools. I can’t wait to see the reaction from our first and second grade students when they get their hands on one!

I’ve already come across an abundance of programs for the iPad that should be useful in the classroom, and everything that I mention in this post is completely free!

First off, I had never used iTunesU prior to the training, and I am still in awe of the amount of professional quality material available. There appears to be an excellent mix of resources for students from early elementary all the way to post-graduate adult learners. There are audio recordings of children’s fairy tales, there are videos of high school students working on service learning projects, and there are video recordings of entire college courses given by professors from universities such as MIT, Duke or Yale. Of course, it’s all free. Just download the latest version of iTunes, open it up, go into the iTunes Store, and there will be a tab at the top labeled “iTunesU”. This is something that you can do on any working computer - - Mac, PC, or as we were shown, iPad.

On to programs specific to the iPad, downloadable through the AppStore on the iPad:

Toy Story Digital Book

This is a great piece of introductory software for younger children available on the iPad. It is an interactive book of the first Toy Story movie. The book can simply be read to you, each word being highlighted as it is spoken, or you can record yourself reading the text on each page and play it back for later listening.

BrainPop Movie of the Day
This app features a different BrainPop movie each day for free, no account required.

iWriteWords Lite

The free version of a letter-writing game on the iPad. It gives stroke by stroke instruction for each letter, reads the word you’ve just written, and gives you a “Good job!” when you’ve finished.

Puppet Pals
The free version of this program gives you access to eight old western characters or “puppets” to create a story with. You select the actors, the backdrop, animate the puppets across the backdrop, then play it back and watch your story unfold.

A Story Before Bed
This app comes with one free book, “The Frog Princess” by Adrian Klein, with the ability to buy more books through their store for use in the app. The functionality of it is a bit limited with only an iPad, as you need a desktop/laptop to create your own recordings. But the presentation of the included story is top-notch and if you have the resources this could be a very useful program.

History Maps
Being a map-lover myself, I’ve used this multiple times already just out of personal curiosity. It features a host of maps from throughout history of various geographical locations. The maps look great and are incredibly easy to navigate on the iPad. You can browse through a long list of available maps sorted by a variety of possible areas. Sort by geographical location, time in history, or topic.

World Book: This Day in History
Another program I’ve been clicking on every day I’ve sat down with the iPad. Each day you can view a variety of historical events, births, and deaths. You can click on any piece of information to read more about it.

This application should be incredibly useful for any teacher of science or student with an interest in hands-on experimentation. Science teacher Dan Menelly provides text and video of him performing a multitude of experiments appropriate for the classroom.

I feel like that should be enough for a first impression, but my list is long and I’ll continue to post with references to anything I find that could be useful in the classroom.


I had such a great couple of days last week during the iPad training. I truly wish I was a student again. The opportunites for learning within these devices are endless. Even though I am somewhat overwhelmed, at the same time I am comfortable because of how user-friendly Apple has made this. I know Carolyn Skibba and Todd Strother will also be great support within our school. Bring on the iPads...

Friday, August 6, 2010


Reviewing the Burley iPad Project Proposal - - on the iPad!

Who needs paper?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Here we go!

We just completed our first day of iPad training with Helen Hoffenberg from Apple, and I am already buzzing with new ideas about how these incredible devices will fit in to our classrooms. Today we learned some basics of navigation and syncing and began to delve in to accessing, creating, and sharing content. Time spent exploring iTunes U and the Podcasts (both audio and video) in the iTunes Store introduced teachers to the wealth of content available for students and teachers. We practiced creating pdf files for later access in the iBooks application, which I think will be a great way to store teacher-created resources on the iPad devices for students to access anytime they need them. I also spent some time during breaks experimenting with the free Dropbox and $0.99 Goodreader apps to think about how students could access and share teacher- and student-created content. I think there is incredible potential for students to create content for one another using the iPad! Tomorrow we will practice using an app called Caster to create podcasts right on the iPad. I have experimented with the Blue Fire app to record audio but am interested to see how Caster works and what teachers and students can create.

Our team also spent some time watching the incredible videos created by Ben Meyers, including Empty School and One Man Band. He's a young man with musical talent and an amazing drive to create, and when I see his work, I think about what kind of learning environments we can create that will open the doors to this kind of passion and creativity. What conditions make it possible for a student to pursue his or her curiosity and vision in this way? What tools enable a child to develop a personal interest to the fullest? It's clear that Ben has had access to musical instruments, high-quality technology, and of course, time and freedom. Helen shared with us that his digital portfolio has helped him earn a scholarship at the Berkeley School of Music. Not every child is a musician, but every child has something they love, and something that would energize them to continue to learn and innovate. Tapping into that is a challenge in a typical classroom, but I think it's an essential one to undertake -- and one that technology like the iPad can certainly help bring about. Just the wealth of free content in iTunes alone creates exciting possibilities for personalizing learning and supporting students' questioning and curiosity.

So I am thinking about many things after our first day of professional development. I am thinking about how to ensure that students develop a sense of ownership over these tools, and how to foster students' drive to explore their ideas and interests. I'm also wondering about logistical issues, of course -- syncing, charging, transferring files, routines and expectations -- since many of those things will be at the forefront when we are first getting started. Because we are working with first and second graders, I am thinking about all the ways audio and image can be used to support young children, both in their learning and in their expressions of what they know. I am energized and excited, and I think this is going to be a fantastic adventure for teachers and students alike.