Classrooms are Like Kitchens

I am not a huge fan of cooking but when I do get into cooking or baking I know I need to have the right tools to get the job done. Typically, if I am in the kitchen there is a trail of mess behind me as I make delectable delights.

My favorite bowls to use when I’m baking are my antique Pyrex bowls that are bright colors. They remind me of baking  with my grandmother when I was little.  Lucky for me Pyrex seems to last forever so I can continue to use them with my children now.

When I making breakfast I have a favorite pan for cooking my eggs and a favorite griddle and spatula for flipping pancakes. I wouldn’t be able to use my Pyrex bowls to cook my pancakes or my favorite little egg pan to create wonderful baked goods. The tools would not fit the job.

Our classrooms are the same way maybe a little messy as we go and in need of the right tools to get the job done.  I do not believe that there is only one tool that works for what we ask students to do on a daily basis. When I went my students to create videos movies anything that shows their understanding and their own voice our go to tool is an iPad. An iPad offers lots of apps that give children the opportunity to create and share in a very easy, streamlined way. They can create, Airdrop to me or upload to their Google Drive and share.

When students need to get into the mess of research and organizing their research I tend to lean to start them on a laptop. Having the keyboard, a mouse, being able to manipulate information quickly with a quick copy/paste makes the laptop seems to be a much better tool.

There are times we have dueling devices in the lab where students get both devices out so we can compare the way they work and what we like better for the job we are doing. Some students end up liking to do everything on their iPads from research to creation. They are comfortable and use it without any issues. Other students appreciate having the precision of a mouse and the ability to type with a keyboard on the laptop. Some start on a laptop and then take their learning to the iPad for creating a final product.

As we consider tools for our classroom I think we need to keep in mind that there’s no one device that is going to make everything perfect. We need to have multiple tools for children to use. If you’re considering no iPads in her upper grades, middle school, high school, why? Are those children are not creating with video and voice? The iPad is a perfect tool for that. Are we not putting keyboard devices in lower grades, why? It gives excellent opportunity for children to learn about precision at a young age. There’s nothing wrong with that.  I think we need to get away from this idea of one size fits all for some age or grade level.  Or that one device is going to be the savior of all education.

In my room I have a Mac  and a Dell Desktop, a Mac and a Dell Laptop, 8 iPod Touches, 30 iPads and 30 Laptops.  It’s a kitchen of sorts and I’m the manager.


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