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Welcome to our grade one and two classroom blog.  We are working on this blog with the hopes that we can teach, share, question and reflect on the use of technology to support learning an indigenous language.   Our school is Sk’aadgaa Naay Elementary (House of Learning) and we are located on Haida Gwaii in British Columbia.

Our class was fortunate enough to be selected for a SET BC project which allowed us to have (on loan) six  iPads (with cases), and an apple TV to supplement our learning.  Our project is called Young Haida Speakers and it is our goal to use iPads to enrich our Haida Partial Immersion  Language program by using applications to further our language development.
Our Partial Haida Language Immersion program consists of an elder and a teacher coming into our classroom one morning each week.  During this time, the students are immersed in the Haida Language—learning phrases, numbers during calendar, and expressing their feelings in Haida to name a few activities.  Because it is only one morning each week we are going to use the I-pads to record our elder speaking in order to practice throughout the week.

Our final project consists of the students giving a personal speech about themselves, their interests and their community.  We hope you enjoy learning about technology in the classroom as well as using technology to help with the acquisition of a new language.  If you have any questions please email tjung@sd50.bc.ca

Scroll down and you will see our posts.

[mls_h1]The iPads Have Arrived![/mls_h1]


[mls_h2]Haawa (Thank You) So Much SET BC and to School District 50!![/mls_h2]

[mls_h3]Getting started…[/mls_h3]

Our class consists of 14 students.  We have (on loan) six iPads from SET BC, and our SET BC student has an iPad for his classroom use.  In total, we have seven iPads in our classroom.  This works out to be a great exercise in cooperative learning—allowing for two students per iPad!  I am excited to see how the students will work together learning from a different tool.
I am pleased with the decision to go with OtterBox cases.  The iPads are completely protected while being in the hands of six and seven year olds (at this age some students are still learning how to think before acting).
I was at a workshop a couple of years ago and the term “digital native” was suggested, and it is so evident to me now, when I observe how quickly my students have picked up on technological tools.  I was fortunate enough to have the support of our school district tech support with setting up the iPads.  This help was much appreciated.
Currently, the iPads are stored in a container next to a significant power source box for easy access and overnight charging.

[mls_h3]Creating Guidelines[/mls_h3]

With any activity at school, and especially with these technological tools; I felt it was necessary to create guidelines with the students. We brainstormed the kind of behaviour we need when using the iPads.  We had a lot of ideas around what not to do –“don’t throw, don’t smash, “don’t drop,” however, we also had some positive ideas such as “use it like a tool.”

This was a good chance to do some community writing as well!

Overall, I thought it was an important step to include the students in creating iPad guideline because of the learning and ownership over the rules around iPad use.

The final guidelines consist of:

I will wash my hands before using the iPad.

I will use two hands to carry the iPad.

I will be responsible and use the iPad as a learning tool.

I will not have liquids around the iPad.

I will follow the directions–using only apps/programs the teacher has instructed me to use.

I will be respectful and be gentle.

I made a notebook.document with all of the guidelines and the students signed the smart board stating they will follow all the guidelines for using the iPads.

[mls_h3]Using the iPads during Haida Language![/mls_h3]

We recorded Chinnay Herb saying commands in Haida while the students followed the directions:


Click on the link above!

We are working on our Haida language speeches and using the iPads to record and then listen.
It was challenging to find the right program to record; and even still, I’m not certain this is the best application.  I’m trying different programs out to see what will work best for us.  I want to ensure that I can share these voice files on the website as well as to give to parents, and my colleagues.

Currently I am using Recording Lite (a free app).  I am going to purchase Voice Recorder HD for Audio Recording, Playback, Trimming and Sharing at $1.99.  I will share how this app works out.

Below are some photos of our special helper recording while one of the students is saying their speech in Haida.



We have purchased Voice Recorder HD for audio recording and this has proven to be a useful and accessible application.  I can easily turn the recording into a wav. file, which can then be shared.

We have been using the iPads to record Herb speaking Haida.  When Herb is not here, we use the appleTV and iPad with the smartboard to listen and practice speaking Haida.

The iPads have not only been a great supplement to our Haida Language Program, they have given us another tool for learning across the curriculum.

The appleTV has allowed the students to quickly and easily share ideas with the entire class. This is how we set up our appleTV:

During math, the students have been working on word problems.  In partners, the students will solve the math problem using the app “sketchbookX” and then the partners present their answer.  In science, the students are working on animal research projects on local animals.  The students used the iPads working with “keynote” to complete a presentation. The students completed non-fiction writing on the iPads and added photographs and then presented to the class.

Once a week our class works on language arts stations.  I decided to try using the iPads for the writing station.  The students were very enthusiastic at the chance to type their stories.  One student in particular stood out because he is often hesitant to write during writing workshop.  I  shouldn’t have been surprised, this student can have difficulty writing neatly, and although I think legible writing is important, I also believe that the students should feel good about expressing their ideas during writing activities.  I was so proud of him! He was also proud and asked if we could print it out so that he could take it home to show his parents.  That’s just what we did!  Technology in the classroom allows for students to shine in different ways!

[mls_h3]Some Reflection[/mls_h3]

The students have learnt that the iPads are tools and we use them to support our learning.  Inevitably, they have also become a reward for positive behaviour.

I recognize and appreciate how the students’ learning can literally and metaphorically, move outside of the classroom.  For example, while using the iPads during a graphing activity, the students decided to go and ask our school secretary and the principal for their input into their bar graphs.  In the end, we used the appleTV to show and then explain their bar graph results.  We also took advantage of a beautiful, sunny day last week, and took our Haida speech work outside.  Our school playground has several wooden benches on a slope, so the audience sat and listened, while the speaker stood in front on a make-shift stage.  We used one of the iPads to record the speeches outside.  It was great!

Obviously, the students’ perspectives can be changed with technological tools that allow them to access the wondrous world wide web!  In my grade one and two class, I have been very structured and explicit while using the iPads and the internet.  One of the most apparent challenges with technology that I can foresee, would be ensuring the students use the internet appropriately and safely.  Some questions I have been pondering, Are they having too much screen time?  How can I teach students to be responsible while using the internet? How can I educate parents about the appropriate use of technology?

It has a powerful message about the use of technology and the social-emotional aspects of being human.  Ironically, I was using social media when I came across this video.


I know this doesn’t have anything to do with my Young Haida Speakers project; however, it made me think of  the balance necessary for students to develop in school settings.  I believe it is crucial for students to have outdoor experiences that give them a connection to nature.  I recognize the need for social-emotional learning in order for these students to be compassionate, connect, and empathize with one another.  Finally, I do see the need for students to have access to technology and to use it in a safe, responsible, mind-opening manner.