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Dan Callahan & Laura D’Elia Pine Glen School
Table of Contents
Proposal iPad Projection iPad Distribution based on projections Rationale Rationale for 1:1 in the Elementary School Rationale for iPads as the 1:1 device Proposed Uses Documentation Creation Practice Consumption Challenges School structure Management Devices at home Purchasing apps Device Protection Teacher readiness Summary and Recommendations
We propose that we begin the 2012-2013 school year with a set of iPads designated specifically for one or two grade levels. With projected numbers of iPads to be provided by the district next year according to Dennis Villano, we should be able to arrange them adequately to make it work with one grade level. Additional resources would make it possible to work with two grade level teams.
Rationale for 1:1 in the Elementary School
This year at Pine Glen, teachers and students alike have begun to grasp the potential of having mobile devices regularly accessible in their classrooms. Teachers appreciate having a common platform for content creation and consumption, tools that are easy to understand, and constant internet access. Students have demonstrated high engagement levels when using the iPads, enjoying the ability to create a variety of media easily and having many apps that make learning fun and accessible. The biggest issue has been one of access. Currently, we share carts of iPads between two grade levels. This means that generally, one grade level only has access to a full set of iPads approximately half of the school year. Then each teacher only has access to a full set for approximately a third of that time. Teachers who use the iPads regularly have begun to shift their teaching in meaningful ways to make best use of the devices. One teacher described how she missed the iPads when they weren’t in her classroom. Another teacher, who currently has 8 computer stations in her classroom, notes that she still doesn’t have enough computers in the classroom for all of the students to get their work done the way they want to. In addition, the Common Core State Standards place an increased emphasis on technology use, multimedia publishing, and research which fit naturally with the ubiquitous presence of mobile devices.
Rationale for iPads as the 1:1 device
As far as we’re concerned, at this stage, the iPad is the best option for 1:1 at the Elementary age level. Its ease of use alone makes for a compelling case. This is a device that both teachers and students feel comfortable with, regardless of their prior levels of technology fluency. Teachers frequently have taken the iPad home to explore and come back the next day with new ideas for how they can use them in their classrooms. The iPad has a wide variety of educational apps that can be used to teach and reinforce skills. Most importantly, though, the iPad has become a very useful and powerful content creation tool. Students have been able to take advantage of the built-in cameras to take pictures and film video. They’ve converted these into collages and fully-edited movies. Students this year have also created books, cartoons, scripts, presentations, commercials, and artwork. The iPad has become an extremely flexible tool for students to use in order to demonstrate their learning. This flexibility is a core component of how the iPad makes Universal Design for Learning a real possibility in classrooms. For a fifth grade project recently, students were given the option of choosing between several different apps to create a video, and they chose the tool that made the most sense for them. The iPad also has strong accessibility features, so that students can use speech to text, text to speech, and the ability to change font sizes. From a practical standpoint, the iPad has a phenomenal battery life which will last the entire school day on full charge. Devices are relatively easy to manage and it’s easy to test out and load new apps onto the iPads.
The iPad, of course, would not replace any and all functions of the traditional classroom setup, but it could be used to replace or supplement many features. There is still a place for the paper and pencil in today’s classroom, and if we’re going to follow UDL principles, students should have meaningful opportunities to choose to use them when they feel it’s appropriate. With that in mind, we need to look for opportunities where we can do old things in better ways, and new things that weren’t possible with previously available tools.
The iPad can be used to document learning in a wide variety of modalities, from recording audio and video, to taking pictures, to word processing. A central component to a 1:1 program would be using these capabilities to keep a record of student learning. Students could record audio of themselves reading for running records, record video of kinesthetic tasks for feedback, take pictures of work done on paper to convert to a digital format, or do their writing/ notetaking digitally, which allows for easy sharing and editing. We would propose strong use of student blogs as a part of documenting this process. Suggested apps: Camera, Voice Recorder HD, Pages, Popplet, Notability, Pages
As noted above, students have rich creation opportunities on the iPad in a large number of media formats. Suggested apps: iMovie, Toontastic, Book Creator, Explain Everything, GarageBand, Skrappy, Pages.
While not the ultimate goal of our classrooms, providing students opportunities to gain basic knowledge is an important part of what students need, because they need that basic knowledge to make richer connections between ideas. The iPad offers many apps that would give students a fun way to learn and gain fluency in math facts, as well as other things best left to memorization such as geographic information. Suggested apps: SplashMath, RocketMath, Stack the States
The iPad makes it possible for students to access the internet when they’re working, so that they can become more independent in finding relevant information to a given task. Traditional work on paper can be done paperlessly by annotating scans or files. Watching videos, a traditional whole-class activity, can be done on an individual basis, which allows students the opportunity to pause, rewind, and rewatch parts that they need to take notes on or try to understand better. In addition, students will have immediate access to the LTC’s digital book collection and the public library’s digital collection for reading pleasure or research. Suggested apps: Internet browser, Notability, BrainPop, Discovery Streaming, Youtube, Videos, iBooks, Follett Shelf, Overdrive.
There are multiple concerns that need to be addressed as a part of the process of bringing this pilot online.
Our natural inclination would be to choose individual teachers that seem most appropriate to the project at hand as a first step. Due to the nature of tiering in our school, though, students switch classrooms frequently enough to make this unmanageable. The teachers or students could not count on having the devices constantly accessible, a core component of a 1:1 program.
In order to best meet the needs of teachers and students, management of devices would probably be best served by switching to primary management from the classroom teacher’s laptop. This management would be done with support by the Instructional Technology Specialist. We know that there are additional options developing, such as Apple’s new Configurator program. Some resources from district IT would also need to be installed for filtering and monitoring.
Devices at home
In our opinion, it’s not a true 1:1 program unless the students have the ability to take the devices home. Obviously, though, this is a decision that needs to be made by all stakeholders, including teachers, parents, administrators, and students. If the devices do not go home, we’ll require additional carts for each classroom to keep the devices in and make sure they’re charged.
The unfortunate reality is that all of the good apps that provide the best functionality cost money. Every app mentioned above except for the ones built in by Apple have costs ranging anywhere from $.49 to $4.99 each after Volume Purchase Program discount.
Every device used in the 1:1 program would require at a minimum a sleeve to keep it in for transport. Each device would also require some sort of insurance in case of damage or theft.
Teachers starting this program should have a certain minimal competency in technology use, especially if they will be doing some management of the devices. More importantly, they will need to be ready for the shift in teacher control that occurs when students have devices that can access all of the world’s information at any time. The teachers that would be ideal for a 1:1 environment would be ready to integrate technology in a meaningful way, acting more as a
facilitator and less of a direct instructor. The goal of this pilot should be to see how we can use the iPads to improve instruction, not to provide the same instruction just with shiny new devices. For this reason, we would request funding for the selected teaching team(s), the Instructional Technology Specialist, and the School Librarian to spend two or three days in professional development over the Summer, giving us a chance to collaborate and begin to work out some of the above issues.
Summary and Recommendations
With projected resources, next year it should be possible to pilot 1:1 iPads at Pine Glen with one grade level given a few additional supports such as app and professional development funding. The goal would be to see how we can improve the quality of instruction in the classroom by providing these new tools on a constant basis. At this time, two grade levels seem the most ready to test this out. Both the Fourth and Fifth Grade teams have shown strong efforts to meaningfully integrate the use of iPads into their classrooms and they’re clamoring for more access. The Fourth grade has frequently been splitting their set up into small groups between each class, and feel they would greatly benefit from giving a device to each student. The Fifth grade has produced some great whole-class projects this year, making particular use of video in the classroom. Their limitation is that only one class gets access to the devices at a time. Ideally we would have enough devices to test it out with both grades, but we would be proud to work with either team on this project if we only get enough devices for one grade level.
Pine Glen Library & Technology Center blog http://pineglen.info Pine Glen School YouTube page http://youtube.com/pineglenschool/ Pine Glen School Flickr account http://flickr.com/photos/pineglenschool/ “Pros & Cons: Is Elementary Too Early for 1:1 Technology?” by Mark Pullen http://gettingsmart.com/edreformer/pros-cons-is-elementary-too-early-for-11-technology/ “Laptop Learning: A Comparison of Teaching and Learning in Upper Elementary Classrooms Equipped With Shared Carts of Laptops and Permanent 1:1 Laptops” http://www.bc.edu/research/intasc/PDF/Andover1to1.pdf
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