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Back to School: Mobility Matters Most!

by Doceri Education Community Advocate Jason Gilmore

“The miracle is this – the more we share, the more we have.” – Leonard Nimoy

It’s back to school time and I am in a good mood! I’m at a great rural middle school with a fantastic community spirit in Sonoma County, Calif. A good mood even though the tech is LIMITED.

We have a fast wired network but… GASP!! NO WIFI! After two years in the wireless tech-rich land of Silicon Valley schools I feel disconnected. My Internet iPad apps are missing me.

However, my classroom is not totally bereft of tech. I have two Windows 7 desktops, an ancient XP laptop, an ancient XP desktop, 2 computer Labs, computers in the library, a projector, an Elmo, and my off-line lonely iPad.

The iPad will of course be useful in two ways: making screencasts on a Doceri and controlling the computer connected to my projector. My feeling is that we can get along just fine with this assortment. Plus, the other great thing is I have procured wonderful antique movable desks with the help of our magic custodian.

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My room is now ripe for collaboration with the mobile furniture I have installed (with the help of a fabulous custodian). A large community table on wheels is also a benefit. I hope to have my students up and discovering or rediscovering content together.

We may have limited access to the internet but we will have access to each other.

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Mobility in the classroom is the first step to establishing an environment that fosters discussion, investigation, and support. Without being tied to the front of the class I will be able to work with students where they are.

This class will not be about me. It will be about students trying, failing, and succeeding as a team.

I’ve connected my iPad to my crusty rusty laptop with Doceri Desktop via a WIFI signal from an old Apple Time Capsule. Internet is not necessary for using Doceri with Doceri Desktop; I just need a WIFI signal that connects the computer and iPad.

My hope is to create my intervention number sense, pre-algebra, and intervention reading and writing lessons for 7th and 8th grade Special Education RSP students in screencast form, place them on Edmodo, have the kids view the individualized lessons via projector and computer in the classroom. This will free me up to work in small groups with kids working on the same skills. With this method we just may be able to fill a few of those basic skill holes yet.

First step? Get to know the kids. Build the camaraderie. Play games. Build the rules and procedures together, and then get to the assessment.

If I can gather momentum in the beginning it should carry us until the holidays, at least! We’ll see what we can get accomplished with a few bones of key tech pieces like Doceri, Edmodo, Zaption, Class Dojo, NewsELA, Reading Plus, and Aleks and a good dose of community spirit to fuel effective collaborative learning. Stay tuned….

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