I first heard of the Goodnotes app at SET Connections SPun Special Education Technology Conference (think unconference meets Special Education). I sat in my first session. A group of us (ok…three of us) were in one of the classrooms sharing. A younger educator needed ideas to bring back to her district to share with her staff, so myself and another special education teacher shared what we were using in our classrooms. We spilled ideas and technology tools we used in our classrooms. The room was filled with,
“Oh yeah I know that!”
“Oh Yeah! I love that tool!”
“Oh no I didn’t know about that one!”
“OOOOOO that’s a great one!”
“WHAT? What is it called?”
“Oh yeah I use Goodreader and Dropbox to transfer the scanned documents into Goodreader.”
“Scan?!” he answered “There’s no scanning. My students just take pictures of their worksheets themselves. I don’t do anything.”
“S H U T U P!!! No way!!!” (that’s technical teacher talk incase you were wondering)
“Yeah but can you type on the pictures of the worksheets? Can you write on them?“ I questioned. “I’ve tried Notify and Paperport Notes. Neither of them can do that.”
“YES! I never scan anything. The students do it all themselves!”
A quick download of their free version to try (aka prove to myself that he was right and it really did what he said it did)
“WHOA momma and holy WOW! This is AWESOME,” I cheered!
I could not wait to bring this back to my classroom and show it to my students.
Suddenly doubt took over me.
Would it be too much technology? Would it be too complex? His students were significantly higher (cognitively and functionally) than mine? Would my students even be willing to change technology tools? New isn’t always better.
So I put it in my next great technology tool to try later pocket..
Two weeks later my classroom got three new iPad2 (we had iPads with cameras yo!) I knew it was time to try the Goodnotes app. That meant it was time for me to take a new technology leap and I knew just the student that was leaping with me!* With the new iPad 2 in hand the Goodnotes app loaded on it I told my student I had a new app to share with him, an app twenty thousand times better than Goodreader. It was going to be amazing and he would get to take pictures of his worksheets, no more needing an adult to scan his worksheets anymore. I held my breath (two months ago this same student had refused to try changing from his PDFd assignment notebook to a Google Calendar assignment notebook).
He looked at me with a big face filling smile and clapped at me, “Ok Mrs. B! An app with no more scanning and I get to take pictures of my worksheets!!!”
“Yes, no more scanning. You’ll do it all by yourself!!” I smiled, “It’s going to be different. You’re going to have to be patient and let me teach you how to use it. It’s not all going to work perfect right away.”
He looked at me and smiled again, “I get to take pictures of my worksheets? All by myself? No teacher help?”
“Yes,” I smiled bigger and answered again.
He looked at me and giggled, “Ok Mrs. B. Lets try it!”
Later that day an iChat message pinged…
“What’s that app called that takes pictures of worksheets?” the message read.
“Jet scanner?!” I replied.
“No not that one. The new one,” she typed back.
“The new one? You mean Goodnotes?!” I answered wondering how the heck she knew about it already.
“YES! That’s the one! One of your students just came to see me during passing period. He was jumping up and down and clapping! He told me all about that app and what he could do with it. He was so excited! It was awesome!”
I will never under estimate the potential
technology skills of any of my students again!
Aim high and adjust from there!
You will always be amazed at what they are capable of!
*I often try new technology with just one student. It gives me an opportunity to spend quality time with individual students. By working with just one at first, it is much easier to work the kinks out and find out what really works and what isn’t (without the stress of 10 students looking at me during a lesson when things are not working). Additionally, it gives me an opportunity to make one student the expert in of a technology tool in my class. This transfers to them being my helper (my expert) when I decide to show other students that tool.