Thanks to all the parents who submitted questions to us in regards to the 3rd Grade 1:1 iPad program. Over the next couple months the Academic Technology Team, along with teachers, and administrators, will post answers to the submitted questions.
Here are the first questions…please check back regularly for updated questions and answers:
The first question was in regards to if there is a way to compare math abilities before and after the 1:1 IPad program?
The Lower School compiles and studies assessment data reflecting students’ math achievement yearly. One factor in students’ achievement mathematically over previous years could be use of the iPads; however, there is no formal study underway to determine that as the only factor in students’ math achievement. Use of the iPad will certainly be considered when analyzing math achievement data next spring!
The second question we will discuss this week was in reference to primary learning objectives for each assignment:
Each lesson and assignment that is presented has clear learning objectives for the third grade students. In the beginning of the school year, it was important to teach the students how to use their new device both safely and responsibly. As a result, there were some classroom and at-home assignments that had goals of teaching these skills of safety and responsibility for the iPad.
In the classroom specifically, teachers have used a structured approach when introducing the iPad to students. There are specific iPad storage areas in each classroom, and iPads are only on the students’ desks when they are in use and needed. In order to develop routines of appropriate use, the teachers’ objectives have been to ease students into the technology as the year progresses. This begins with safety and responsibility skills, moves toward mastering the use of the iPad and specific apps, and progresses into projects that require more creativity and student independence. A teacher, with or without 1:1 technology, introduces and practices routines at the beginning of a school year. It isn’t until these routines are mastered that students can dive into their learning at full force!
Online Educational Games and Activities that teachers post, such as the Northeast Region review games, are optional at-home activities. Students were provided a paper study guide as well as vocabulary flashcards; if students wanted to practice more, and had their parent’s approval to use the iPad, these tools were accessible to them. Teachers provide optional, additional resources to benefit students and to support a variety of learning styles. It is up to the student and their parents to use the tools that best support their learning. These are resources that the teacher would include on a classroom blog regardless of whether the 1:1 program was in place.
Overall, the goal of the iPads in third grade is to foster creativity (Educreations), help students to find new ways to organize information (Pages, Popplet), learn and practice presentation and oral skills (Keynote, Garage Band), and simply introduce third grade students to technology as a learning tool. We need to remember that these children are eight and nine years old, and embrace the skills they are learning each day, with or without the iPad!