Look Out Wonka, Here I Come!

I found a Golden Ticket! Actually, it should read tickets. This is a game changer. Little Charlie Buckets life changed drastically once he found his golden ticket. On the grand scheme of things, my life will stay…well…the same. My professional journey however, is about to be dumped upside down and spun around. All thanks to those golden tickets and my tour through Wonka’s innovative game changing factory.

I have always been intrigued by the idea of implementing the use of iPads in my teaching, however I have been reluctant to do so for a number of reasons. As such, instead of stopping to investigate, I have always just walked on by, pushing the idea to the back of my mind only to have it resurface time and time again. Clearly, I needed to find the golden ticket. I needed to face my curiosity head on, and go through the gates of the great Wonka factory. I like Charlie had no idea what I would see, hear, or find. What I did know, was that I needed to go, even though the idea of it was both exciting and horrifying.

Image Source:http://filmfather.blogspot.ca/2010/08/willy-wonka-and-chocolate-factory-1971.html

Thousands of golden tickets were out there to be found. They were found in a number of different formats, not just wrapped around a tasty candy-bar. Journal articles, magazines articles, videos, blogs, and social media sites. Many of them, though promising, turned out to be mere counterfeits. It was hard to tell them apart, which ultimately lead to disappointment when I realized they were not going to open the gates of the Wonka Factory. Once again, causing me to walk on by and stick to my usual path.

Luckily my fate changed. Unlike Charlie who only found one golden ticket, I found many.

Most of my luck came in the format of journal and magazine articles. Like the lick-able wallpaper many of them gave me a taste of what was out there. They provided me direction and let me know I was heading down the right hall. The tour had begun!


Image Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/121808364897504143/

Like the bratty children that accompanied Charlie on his tour, I was accompanied by my own annoying group, What Are, How Will, Have You and What Will. Going on a tour with these guys really slows you down.

Have You truly thought about and created a clear vision for how the use of iPads will improve student learning and instruction?

What Will you do to ensure iPads are not just replacing a tool that does the same job?

How Will you implement this new thinking and processes into your practice?

What Are you going to do now, now that you have started the journey?

I am glad I met them, since meeting them allowed me to shape who I want to be and how I want to proceed forward. I will be honest in saying though, that I was more than happy when they fell into the chocolate river, were rolled away, fell down a shoot and shrunk out of sight. I know they will be back and thats a good thing. They are the reminders that keep me on track.

As I moved through the various rooms of the Wonka factory, my vision and understanding of using iPads to enhance motivation and engagement in primary writing was shaped. The magic that is to be had as a result of their use, was becoming more of a reality.

Not every part of the Wonka factory was delightful. The trip through the chocolate river tunnel brought forward concerns, frustrations, and straight up fear around implementing the use of iPads. Storage considerations, management, costs, programming support, and the like were flashed before my eyes. However, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.


I found these gems mostly through blog posts and social media conversations. Feedback, from those already thinking and working like the great Wonka himself. I knew I was on the right track when the resources I found began referencing each other. The video titled, Introduction to the SAMR Model, really began to shape my thinking. You can find it by clicking the link below.


The challenges Charlie faced while in the factory, I faced too. The temptation of that fizzy lifting drink was all too great. As I was almost shredded by the fan, I started to sink down only when I reflected on my thinking surrounding iPad use. I was forced to question: How will the learning with iPads be different? What will they be able to do that they can’t do now? Only then did I come to realize my practice needs to change!


Image Source:http://comicvine.gamespot.com/forums/off-topic-5/feed-me-527624/?page=2

I began to envision what iPad use in primary writing would look like, so that it was meaningful and purposeful learning. My main take away is to ensure that there are opportunities to make connections beyond the walls of our classroom and school. These connections provide greater motivation, as well as make our writing more authentic. I was also forced to embrace and change my mindset around what I call the “flock.” This is the lovely group of children that forms when the iPad is out (Yes, you read right, THE iPad. I only have 1. This is a problem in of its own). Through the readings it was heavily implied that watching others use technology allows the watcher to see themselves as potential and future users. Lesson learned! The flock gets to stay.

I have many more rooms to go through in the Wonka factory and it will take time. I am a creature of habit and it is challenging to change my practices. I am however ready to think and work the the great Mr. Wonka himself. Let the risk-taking and outward thinking begin.

These are the Golden Tickets that have started to shape my thinking. I am happy to share them with you. Please hold onto them tight, for if you lose them, you may not be able to take your tour of the Wonka Factory.


Cassidy, K. (2012, July 2). IPads in primary: Does 1-to-1 make a difference? Retrieved from http://plpnetwork.com/2012/07/02/ipads-primary-1-to-1-difference/

Coskie, T. L., & Michelle Hornof, M. (2013). E-BEST principles: Infusing technology into the writing workshop. The Reading Teacher, 67(1), 54–58. doi:10.1002/trtr.1189

Daccord, T., & Reich, J. (2015, May). How to transform teaching with tablets. EL Educational Leadership: Teaching with Mobile Tech, 72(8), 19–23

Educator video: Introduction to the SAMR model. Retrieved 2016, from Common Sense Media, https://www.commonsensemedia.org/videos/introduction-to-the-samr-model

Guskey, T. R., & Anderman, E. M. (2013, December). In search of a useful definition of mastery. EL Educational Leadership: Getting Students to Mastery, 71(4), 19–23

Harris, K. R., Graham, S., Friedlander, B., & Laud, L. (2013). Bring powerful writing strategies into your classroom! Why and how. The Reading Teacher, 66(7), 538–542. doi:10.1002/trtr.1156

Hicks, T., & Hawley Turner, K. (2013). No longer a luxury: Digital literacy can’t wait. English Journal, 102(6), 58–65.

Hutchison, A., Beschorner, B., & Schmidt-Crawford, D. (2012). Exploring the use of the iPad for literacy learning. The Reading Teacher, 66(1), 15–23. doi:10.1002/trtr.01090

Maich, K., & Hall, C. (2015). Implementing iPads in the inclusive classroom setting. Intervention in School and Clinic. doi:10.1177/1053451215585793

Mango, O. (2015). iPad use and student engagement in the classroom. TOJET the Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 14(1), 53–57.

Meeuwse, K. (2016, May 1). Focus on the learning, not the tool Retrieved from https://iteachwithipads.net/category/writing-2/

Morgan, H. (2014). Using digital story projects to help students improve in reading and writing. Reading Improvement, 51(1), 20–26.

Mrs. Pursche. (2015, March 26). SAMR model: iPads to modify writing Retrieved from http://www.firstgradeadventure.com/2015/03/26/samr-model-ipads-to-modify-writing/

Northrop, L., & Killeen, E. (2013). A framework for using iPads to build early literacy skills. The Reading Teacher, 66(7), 531–537. doi:10.1002/trtr.1155

Tucker, C. (2013, December). Five musts for mastery. EL Educational Leadership: Getting Students to Mastery, 71(4)

Warschauer, M., & Tate, T. (2016, May). Going one-to-one, 2.0. EL Educational Leadership: Teaching with Mobile Tech, 72(8), 60–65


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s