I’ve been interested in hearing about how schools are implementing and using iPads in a classroom setting. And from what I’ve researched and found, the stories of successful integration are endless.
Naselle High School in Washington:
In this high school, 50 iPads were provided to high school freshmen and sophomores for various subjects. Students sign an agreement at the beginning of the year, and along with a $50 insurance policy, the students have 24/7 access to the tablets. While at school, though their internet use is restricted, the students use apps that do not require the internet, such as note-taking apps, apps for all of their textbooks, e-reader apps for any novels they may be reading in class, and apps in the realm of education.
Superintendent Rick Pass says this about the program: “It will not be long before students will be leaving their backpacks at home and carrying … the iPad with all their textbooks downloaded from the Internet. Assignments will be turned in wirelessly, corrected, and sent back to the students without ever using a sheet of paper… To make a difference, teachers must be focused on the use of these tools to enable students to think critically, to be more creative, and to be innovative in their problem solving.” The school had gone on to expand the program into classrooms of third and fifth graders, teaching them how to use the technology and opening them up to the limitless potential that the iPad has, and already they’ve seen a change in their student’s overall motivation, attitude, and, ultimately, their grades. Students are excited to have access to the iPads and are going above and beyond to contribute in their classroom settings.
Lincoln Elementary School in Minnesota:
What started as a pilot program of 60 iPads for two fifth grade classes in the district’s elementary school has evolved into a multi-school, 200+ iPad program throughout the district in Little Falls. iPads are bridging the gap between technology fueled world and the classroom, says Superintendent Curt Tryggestad, who has said the district spent about $91,000 on iPads for the district. "The classrooms don't run off paper anymore, we do it all electronically. We've adapted to the universal, digital world. Much of our curriculum, we still have the hard-copy books, but we also have the electric version too. Textbooks are expensive to buy and are only as accurate as they are dated. Using the iPads, or any electronic resources, offer more up to date information."
Shawn Alholm, a fifth grade teacher, loves that his students use the iPads. In the article linked above, he states the students are teaching him things everyday, because of the tablets. He’s also said that the communication between him and his students has become much more effective because each of the students, along with the iPads, were given an email address where they can email Alholm questions, suggestions, and classwork.
Having read about each of these school districts, and how each started with just one classroom and expanded to different grades and schools within their districts, I am so excited that schools are embracing iPads in the classroom. Students are being engaged in the classroom and are excited to come to school because of the tablets. I think more schools should invest in technology like the iPad to excite and engage their students on a new level. Learning is now coupled with technology; it is becoming apparent that one cannot exist without the other. It seems that the process by which teachers present students with new materials needs to change; the ways of old do not seem to be making an impact on students like the iPad has to these schools.