December 5, 2012

Nexus 7 Rollout in 4th Grade

YEAH!!!! The Nexus 7s arrived in Maine on Friday afternoon and we were able to give them to students just three days later. Kate Parkin (4th grade teacher) and I had spent time preparing for the devices, exploring apps, becoming familiar with various resources like Edutecher and Android4Schools and thinking about how to bring this to her students in the most productive way. Some weekend work went into charging, updating and preparing the tablets with each student's Yarmouth Google account. We were pleased to find that there is a Content Filtering Setting that should modify any suggested apps and materials to keep them appropriate for students.

As teachers, Kate and I planned for the physical realities of having the new set of devices in her classroom. Consistent with our practice with student 1:1 laptops we ordered cases to protect the tablets. At the time we ordered they were $6.95 each and they have the added feature of putting the device to sleep or waking it on opening. We set up 4 bins in the classroom with plug strips nearby. The strips only allow 3 plugs at a time so we will be rotating overnight charging.

Once we did the planning and getting the room ready it was time to rollout the tablets. We invited parents, our building principal, Alice Barr (integrator at Yarmouth High School) and a college student who has helped us move ahead with technology since we was a student at YES. We planned an hour and a half at the end of the school day for the rollout. We started by giving each student a label to decorate so that s/he could easily identify her/his own tablet in the bins. We affixed the labels to the cases with plastic book spine labels to help them last through the year.

The slideshow above shows a set of photos from the preparation, through the labeling, to unboxing the Nexus 7s, changing the wallpaper and widgets on the devices. Once the students had done some personalizing and exploring the screens available Kate used the document camera to project her Nexus 7 onto the screen and showed students how to download and install a set of apps that we had previewed. We looked for an assortment of apps that allowed students to create simple projects, take notes and practice math facts as a start. In the slideshow you can see the students working from this list of apps.
Apps to download:
Skitch
Evernote
Free Rice
50 States
Google Drive
PopMath Lite
NASA
Space Images
Math Workout
Sudoku Plus
Math Maniac
Countries of the World
Note Everything
SimpleMind Free
Kitchen Timer
Camera Launcher
ListNote Speech to Text

This video gives a quick glimpse of the classroom once the students are exploring apps:
video
Many thanks to all who helped with this successful rollout and especially to Mark Wagner and the EdTechTeam for donating the devices to our school. An additional post about the arrival of the Nexus 7's is posted on Kate Parkin's classroom blog.