iTooch's day out with 7th Graders
A few weeks ago, we got an invitation from Mrs Anne-Marie Patenotte, a French Language teacher from Louis Lumière Middle School, to visit her school and spend an afternoon with her 7th grade class. Fascinated by new technologies, Anne-Marie believes in empowering her students through tablets and educational apps.
Meeting Anne-Marie’s students
We arrived at Collège Louis Lumière during the 3 PM break and in a snap, we slipped back to our old school days, taking a one hour of French Language class with Anne-Marie’s 7th grade students! This was such a nostalgic moment for the eduPad team as we got to rekindle good old childhood memories. However, it was clear for us that times and teaching methods have changed! Gone are days of chalk and chalkboards, teachers and students are embracing new technologies to teach and learn.
Compared to most public French Middle schools, Anne-Marie’s class is well equipped with several iTech devices such as Apple TV, MacBooks and iPads. Anne-Marie uses these devices to facilitate her teaching work in all her classes. Every student has a tablet, but only for one hour. We therefore got a chance to observe the ritual of distribution of iPads from the beginning to the end of the French language class.
To allow quick and efficient distribution of iPads, Anne-Marie has paired each student with an iPad. Therefore when students come in they already know which iPad number to pick. This happened so fast that within no time, all her students we all seated, each with an iPad on their desks. We were quite surprised by Anne Marie’s effective way of distributing the iPads.
So what do Anne-Marie’s students think about her way of distributing the iPads?
“I think this is one of the most effective ways of distributing learning material, not only does it make us handle the iPads with care, it also saves us from wasting class time” said Guillaume M. , a reflection which raises the BYOD (Bring your Own Device) question.
Dictation in a Modern day classroom
Then came time for a dictation session, this was not the traditional dictation as Anne-Marie stopped reading out-loud dictations to her students ages ago! Her students work at their own pace. They listen to dictations from an app and transcribe it on sheets of paper.
After the dictation, Anne-Marie projected a correction on the board and we all corrected the dictation together. Anne-Marie went on to give out explanations on certain points where students experienced difficulties.
“I think we are a lucky school to be equipped with iPads and to be able to use them to learn. We can go to the internet to research a topic we are studying and we can also use learning apps such as iTooch to learn…” Théo P.
After the correction, the class went on to practice their vocabulary and grammar skills with the iTooch French Language app for 7th graders. Students got to polish their skills and also to practice and assimilate notions they didn’t get. Anne-Marie uses iTooch apps to complement her work as a language teacher, and to offer a fun learning way to assimilate key notions with her students.
We were happy to discover that students were at ease using the iTooch French Language app and were also eager to move to the next level to discover new learning material. The iTooch mascot and reward mechanisms kept the students engaged and yearning to learn more.
“I like learning with iTooch apps, instructions are simple and straight to the point. There are thousands and thousands of learning material makes us even more curious to discover the next level. I like winning badges and Judo Belts too, iTooch makes me feel like a champion!” Léo R
Anne-Marie’s vision of next–generation classrooms
After the French Language class we had a long discussion with Anne-Marie about her experience as a teacher and her vision of “the next generation classroom“. She acknowledged that she has seen a huge improvement in teaching methods through out her teaching profession.
According to her, today’s teaching methods have changed:
“Todays teaching methods are based on interacting with students: taking their suggestions and learning from your students while you teach them. We are slowly moving away from the old classroom where teachers would dictate for hours while students took notes. For me, in the next generation classroom, the teacher is more of a coordinator.”
She acknowledged that she sometimes encounters some difficulties with her iTech tools but she is never ashamed to ask for some help from her students. She added that even though it takes a lot of efforts for “Digital Immigrants” to get accustomed to new technologies, it is never too late for teachers and schools to invest in them.
She confided in us “…it took me some time before I got used to all these devices that you see here. But the best part is, once you get used to them they are the best teaching tools ever.”
By embracing technology and exploiting it to teach her students, Anne-Marie is determined to equip her students with IT skills needed to succeed in the 21st century job market.