iPads integrated into teachers’ classrooms

It wasn’t long ago an elementary education was mainly from books: now you can find iPads and other electronic devices

Apps for education: Teachers research iPad apps at the iPad Elementary School presentation Sept. 21.

It wasn’t long ago an elementary education was mainly from books: now you can find iPads and other electronic devices among a teacher’s toolkit.

iPads in Elementary Classroom was one of the presentations at the second 21st Century Technology & Learning Symposium sponsored by Wolf Creek Public Schools and Central Alberta Regional Consortium Sept. 21 at Terrace Ridge School in Lacombe.

Presented by Nathan McEntee, Ponoka Elementary School Grade 4 teacher, and Tia Grahn, Rimbey Elementary School Grade 6 teacher, they walked educators through how to research an app and even to use it in a lesson.

Collaboration was something McEntee feels is an important part of working with technology. “We are learning with you.”

A lesson plan is an important step when considering the use of an iPad.

“To effectively use apps in your classroom you must first decide what you want to accomplish,” he explained.

They pointed out some benefits of working with education apps and iPads:

There is instant feedback from apps on how students do.

• They can provide a way to write storyboards or offer an avenue for artwork.

• Textbooks can be created with and used for later classes, some textbooks are available as an app, but a site license might be needed.

• They offer note taking capabilities.

“Lots of times there’s a lite version too that you can try and if you really enjoy it and you know you’re going to use then always go for the lite version before you pay for the app,” suggested Grahn.

Presenters asked teachers to work with a team that teaches at the same level and bring one suggestion of an app found from some websites such as www.apps4ed.com.

Mark McWhinnie, assistant superintendent of technology services, said students as young as Grade 2 are bringing devices to school to enhance their learning experience but the purpose of the presentations is not to promote a specific product. “It should be less about the technology and more about the integration of technology.”

Most students use tablets, iPads and other devices to connect with friends and family, explained McWhinnie. He feels teachers are seeing the value of having these same devices be a part of a student’s education.

“It’s about using tools that they are accustomed to and using in their everyday life,” he explained.

For McWhinnie, the goal is also to teach students positive behaviors in a digital world. “We’re teaching students also at the same time how to use it appropriately.”

Classrooms will use the Internet and social networking sites such as Twitter to tell about their learning, which gives parents an insight into their child’s education.

“Parents are increasingly being able to see what their kids are learning,” he explained.

The goal for symposium organizers was for teachers to be able to continue their learning as well as educate their students.