This Seals the Deal!

Oct 17, 2011 by

I will continue to add to the series of blog posts on the importance of student choice in writing, but today I feel compelled to share on the topic of technology in the classroom.

Recently I have been thinking seriously about purchasing an iPad.  It started about a year ago when a friend showed me her new toy.  With her new iPad she had constant access to her Kindle, her e-mail and Facebook, her to-do lists, and more.  I thought that was pretty neat but just couldn’t justify purchasing a new device when I already had a Smartphone that could do most of what she showed me.  But I still thought it was pretty cool!

This school year, as I have attended many meetings, I have often found myself in the minority (sometimes the ONLY person in the room) of people still taking notes with a good old-fashioned notebook and ballpoint pen.  I must say, that as much as I love technology, I do still love the feel of pen on paper and the overall experience of reading books with pages I can turn.  But, as I looked around, I do admit that I had iPad envy as I watched my colleagues navigate from file to file to add notes, look up resources, etc.  Last week as I participated in a kindergarten teacher lab, I watched the facilitator use her iPad to videotape a one-on-one conference so that she could show it to the whole group during our debrief session.  Again, pretty neat!

Still, I wasn’t sure if I could justify getting a new toy just to keep up with the Joneses.

I have now found my justification!  Last Friday a colleague shared with me an app that is available for the iPad (and iPhone and iPod Touch).  It is called  "Confer – A Notetaking App for Teachers".  It is amazing!  Everything I have always tried to do with my conferring notebook can be done with this app.  Here are just a few:

  • keep track of students I have conferred with
  • keep records of compliments, teaching points, and future instruction
  • group students with similar needs for strategy groups
  • use flexible grouping to meet students’ needs
  • track reading levels
  • sort students for instruction in a variety of ways

I found this video that explains how this app works way better than I can: Confer – A Notetaking App for Teachers Video Demonstration

So that seals the deal!  I am now going to buy myself a new Christmas present just so that I can use this app! (They haven’t come out with a version for my Android phone yet).  I can’t wait to discover all the other ways this tool can help me in the classroom.  I invite any of you who have been using iPadsin your classrooms to share your suggestions!

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