One to one device thoughts.
Two years ago we began a one to one ipad project with students in grade 5 and 6. As a science and technology school we saw this as an opportunity to enhance the inquiry and project based learning we have been developing at the school.
The introduction of the ipads has been very positive in creating more engagement and interest for the students; and providing a tool that creates opportunities for lessons that would not be possible in a traditional class setting. The bottom line question through the project is does the technology enhance the quality of learning in the classroom.
I was able to attend the apple leadership conference this year and hear a keynote on the SAMR model. That presentation and theory helped to anchor my thoughts on the use of technology in schools. It was clear when discussing the model with teachers which level some lessons were at and what was needed to promote the learning to a level that promoted higher order thinking.
In the classroom students have been using dropbox, explain everything, Lego Robotics, puppet pals and other common apps for creating and sharing their thoughts. The classes also support younger students in buddy groups were the older students work with primary students on early phonics and math apps in a peer teaching model. This social interaction has been positive for both children and they look forward to the time each week.
Recently an apple TV was added to the classroom to support presentations and the display of student work. This simple to use device has again increased engagement and student interest. These teaching tools are being used effectively by the strong teachers of the class to allow the students to collaborate, innovate and explore in an independent manner.
I have also worked with a large administrative group to promote and teach how the ipad device can benefit principals within a school setting. This group has learned how to be more organized and share key ideas and concepts through social media. The introduction of twitter and the use of flipboard to organize articles, blogs, and common thoughts has been some of the best Professional development and personal learning ever.
We continue to work as a group to promote the use of technology in schools and to develop a shared vision that allows for students, teachers, and administrators to be more collaborative, independent, to problem solve, to question, and make better decisions.
Moving forward I have been developing some course content in Itunes U and I hope to see high school students using this soon. We have a number of students in the district that take course through videoconference technology and I see Itunes U as an excellent way to support those students and assist in overcoming the distance barrier that they face. In addition the personalized learning ideas of the administrative group can be shared in a simple manner that allows reflection and growth for the group.
In the classroom we continue to look to the ipad as a way to develop eportfolios to gather the presentations and content that students are creating. Displaying and presenting this work is an important part of the process in student engagement.
The addition of apple products to the school has enabled us to grow and learn with the students and improve the education of the students in our school, and the educators in our district. The collaboration and discussions that occur between teachers in different schools shows the power of the technology and the willingness of the educators to grow and master their craft. It is a difficult task to raise the bar for all learners we are working at doing that but keeping an eye on the more important aspect of lowering the gap between learners.