Though mobile devices such as the iPad are becoming more ubiquitous, most schools still are struggling to find their way through the thicket of technology implementation. Yesterday, I had the great opportunity of teaching a class of 1:1 High School AP Gov students at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. Each student in Ms. Jen Wiegele’s class had access to an iPad throughout their semester course. For the most part, students had used their iPad as consumption devices by taking notes with apps like Evernote or doing web searches via the Safari browser. Ms. Wiegele wanted me to do something a little more active when it came to using the devices. So, for an hour of class students used their tablets to scan QR codes, explore rich media content via the iPad, and create their own QR code linking to the resources they studied.
In an icebreaker activity, students had a QR code taped to their back. Each QR code linked to a secret identity. They were either Sen. Harry Reid, Rep. Eric Cantor, Chief Justice John Roberts, or Actor George Clooney (for good measure). They had to circulate the room, have a friend scan their QR code with the iPad app Bakodo (a free QR code scanner) and get one clue to their identity. After receiving two to three clues, students huddled up and made a guess out loud as to who they thought they were. This simple icebreaker makes reviewing content such as famous people, easy and fun. You can even make them inanimate objects such as places or geographic features if your content differs.
For our activity, students had already wrapped up their year in terms of content. So we took time to review using THIS FREE LESSON that was posted on the TCI Blog. In this activity, I had Jen give me ten topics that she would like students to review. Each topic was put on a placard with an image. Students were broken into pairs and assigned one of the ten placards. Once they received their placard, students were tasked with scouring the internet with a media-rich resource such as a video , song, or image that helps to teach the topic. I instructed the students to check three or four sources before settling on one they were happy with. They then had to come to Jen and I so that we could approve the resource. Once approved, students used a QR Code Generator to create their own QR Code. After all the groups completed their task they displayed their QR Codes by the assigned placard.
In the debrief, pairs would move to three to four other displays, view the placard, and scan the QR code by the group who made it. I challenged pairs to become experts on the last station they visited and share with the class what the topic was, the resources scanned, and why they thought the group who did it choose the resource they did.
This review activity could be done from time to time at the end of units or semesters to review content. It places the students squarely in charge of content creation and consumption with a mobile device. I thoroughly enjoyed putting my teacher hat on once more! Thanks so much to the seniors in Ms. Wiegele’s class and to Jen herself for availing me this great opportunity to explore how the TCI Approach can be fused with up and coming technology.