We have been working on getting some thoughts together from our teachers on the iPad pilot. We have been collecting thoughtson how the pilot has been going, things they have learned, and what they hope will come in regards to iPads in the future. Enjoy!
7th Grade English:
As the middle school considers going to a 1:1 program, there are many benefits that would enhance our teaching at the middle school as well as the middle school experience for our students while setting Valley Christian Middle School apart from schools in our area.
The iPads would allow for a reduction in paper waste. Our students could submit work digitally, which would allow for quicker turn-ins and less paper use. Students have already been practicing the process of digital turn-ins with projects like our podcasts, Writer’s Workshop assignments and by using Google docs.
As I have many avid readers in my English classes, books are readily available using the iPad. Kids could build a digital library, keeping them engaged in books.
Our school could save money from buying and lugging around textbooks. We could purchase digital texts, which would keep information current, while also keeping textbook storage at a minimum. Textbook damage would be a thing of the past.
Another great reason to move to 1:1 would be teaching the students how to use technology responsibly. We have been working to teach our kids the importance of positive digital citizenship through the footprints we leave using technology. It would be a good transition for our classes as we would teach our kids to make sure they are caring for their iPads as tools, but also caring for their digital identities by using the iPad as a tool for education. Technology would be more accessible, therefore allowing for us to look things up readily. In teaching history, as we explore the inventions of the Chinese and a student asks a question about the yo-yo, he could immediately look up the information and provide it with the class. The iPad would provide great exploration for students in their learning adventures. The curriculum would go more in depth.
Because each student would have their own iPad, watching videos would allow for students to repeat portions that they may have misunderstood or missed. Students that are absent from class would have access to the curriculum and assignments for the day without falling far behind. This would also allow for teachers to possibly assign videos to be watched at home before the class period so that more instructional teaching time is available in the class period.
We would not have to depend on sharing the computer lab for technology. We would use iPads freely according to our own schedules in class without losing time traveling to the lab or needing to cram an assignment in based on the time available for the iPad cart.
A concern in going 1:1 would be that we would have plenty of technical support. It is important that we are ready for this change, but that teachers can be encouraged and supported in this new exploration. Ensuring that we have technology expectations would be key in allowing this program to succeed.
As technology advances, I think that it is a wonderful opportunity to teach our kids how to use it well, but also to find a balance between using them and learning from a more traditional standpoint.
I am blown away by the complexity of many of the iPad educational apps. As a science teacher, I see apps that will change the way I teach. For example, the frog dissection app will allow students to learn in ways that haven’t been available to them before. Our world is changing quickly and it’s great see opportunities in technology for education to not only keep up – but jump ahead.
I have really enjoyed using the iPad cart this year in American History. It has allowed me to create a lot of different projects that keep the students engaged while learning different applications. The U.S. History textbook in on the iPad also so one reason why it would be beneficial to go to the one-to-one program is that each students would have their textbooks for all of their classes on one device; no more lugging around all their books and stopping at lockers. I have also enjoyed the ability to do all aspects of a project in the classroom, instead of moving to the computer lab and dealing with other classes using the lab. For example, earlier this year I did a project on people from the Revolutionary War. Students were able to research their person using the iPad, type out scripts describing who they were and their importance using the iPad, make a movie about their person using the iPads, and also editing that movie using iPads. Students really enjoy the ability to do all tasks using one device. iPads make a more efficient use of time and allows a wide variety of capabilities which makes learning a lot more enjoyable for students.