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Our Galaxy

May 17, 2014

 

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Student learning how to knit via a Galaxy. After she learned, she shared her resources and helped teach other students in the classroom.

About 2 months ago, I was lucky to receive a class set of Samsung Galaxies.  My students were previously using 4 generation iPods.  They loved the iPods but within one week they were all but forgotten.  My students use the Galaxies for everything. They are not kept hidden.  They are accessible and are used without direct permission.  In fact, they even know what to do if a Galaxy is close to running out of  battery.  Yes, that seems simple.  But it speaks to their confidence and comfort in the classroom and in using the device. Writing They use the Google Drive app on the Galaxies for most of their writing.  A few students still prefer a laptop over a Galaxy for writing but the majority enjoy writing on the 7 inch tablet.  Here is an example of a story.  The smaller keypad does not hinder their desire to write.  One student has been working on this dragon story for weeks.  The class is also using the device to type their magnet experiment.  After typing directions, they use the Galaxy to video their experiment. Last week, we collaborated via Google Docs to write a script for our second grade performance.  Students were on their device adding lines to our part of the production.  Next week, we are going on a trek around the school.  The students will bring a Galaxy with them so they can document the walk by taking pictures.  They will then write on the Galaxy about what they saw.  They will be able to add their photos into their writing because it will all be done on the Galaxy. Reading  They do quite a bit of reading on the Galaxies via the Raz-Kids app.  The app allows you to set them up with a folder of books that is on their level.  They also do most of their research reading via the Galaxies.  My students are always researching things that interest them.  They use the Galaxies to learn new information and take notes before presenting to the class. Apps and more There are thousands of Google Play apps to choose from.  Some are better than others but that is no different than the iTunes store.  We recently finished a checkers tournament using the Galaxies.  We have explored matter and molecules, worked on addition and subtraction fluency, problem solved, explored the world via Google Earth, and much more. This is important The vast majority of my students have parents with iPhones.  From what I have gathered from the students, many also have iPads.  There is no doubt that Apple has great products.  I say that with confidence as I type on my Macbook Pro and check my iPhone for missed messages.  But, I previously had a Samsung Galaxy 2 and a Kindle Fire.  Both helped me learn a different operating system.  That has helped me as an educator.  I think our students need the same exposure. Below are pictures of a few ways we are using the Galaxies in the classroom.  In addition to the pictures below, you can view a few more pictures here.

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Students are using the Galaxies to video science experiments, plays, Lego demonstrations, dances, and puppet shows. This picture is from a puppet show performed by a few of the students.

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The students are using IOS and Android devices together. This enables them to make tool decisions. This is a critical element when developing independence. The devices are always out on tables or in the closet with the door open.

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My students do a lot of research. The Galaxies are great for research. We bookmarked KidRex and the students prefer to use Voice Search more than typing.

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Even though I have enough for everyone, they often choose to collaborate and share rather than have their own.

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The students like to “travel” via Google Earth. The Galaxy is great for that. In this picture, a student is traveling through Hershey Park’s Chocolate Factory. They did this on their own because we were reading a book on Milton Hershey.

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We recently had a paper making project. These students were interested in origami. So, without direction, they used a Galaxy to find a video on origami sharks. This is the end result.

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We obviously use the devices for apps as well. This picture is of an app that enables students to see molecules within objects.

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Research

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