It was last Friday afternoon when the whispers began. “What on earth is he doing?”, one teacher says. “It’s like I’m watching Get Smart”, said another. While one student was a little more blunt, “Mr Hamilton has gone crazy”.
Strange things happen in the last two lessons of the week. Probably not a great idea to push some boundaries with tech during this time! But hey, if we expect our students to take risks, shouldn’t teachers take risks as well?
Teaching is a complex profession with many tasks and responsibilities. Knowing our students is an integral part. Identifying their individual learning styles, strengths and areas that require attention. How we gather this information is often a time consuming and overwhelming job.
“Some of the most powerful and authentic data we can collect in the classroom comes from the daily interactions we have with our students.”
Teacher/student conferences, observations, informal chats about learning. Simple questions like “what don’t you get?” or “explain what you have done there?” These methods allow teachers to tap into the minds of students in a way that standardised testing can never do. Consequently, this data allows educators to plan a more effective learning pathway for the individual students in their class, catering for the specific learning needs of each unique learner.
“The problem is, I never have the time to record this invaluable data! As I move from student to student the information is lost.”
How I’m using the Apple Watch in the classroom
So with this in mind I started exploring ways in which I could use technology to capture these ‘learning interactions’. Enter the Apple Watch. Using the dictation function and an App I was able to create a detailed Google Sheet of student observations with 3 touches on the Apple Watch.
This is incredibly efficient for me as a teacher. It allowed me to collect data without having to return to my laptop or mobile device. When the class was over I was able to sort and analyse the data and share with other teachers via the Google Docs environment. Quite simply, I was able to spend more time on planning effective learning experiences for each of my students. It made a big, often overwhelming experience, small and achievable.
I think Gina Bellman said it best when she so beautifully articulated:
“I love those connections that make this big old world feel like a little village.”
Paul Hamilton is Head of Learning Technologies (Primary) at MFAC, International Keynote Speaker and founder of iPad Monthly.