iPad school visit

January 13, 2012

Dusting off the ol’ wordpresss blog to record thoughts and impressions on a visit to Banner Elk to observe 1:1 iPad elementary school…

Banner Elk Elementary is a small (@175 students) school in a beautiful new building. They are in the first  year of 1:1 with iPads so this is new to many of the teachers. Apple provided professional development that helped the school get started, all agreed the Apple PD was excellent.

The school is using the technology well and the teachers are reporting improved student achievement. A 39 year veteran teacher of grades 1 and K shared that her students have mastered addition with numbers 1 to 10 more quickly than ever, two or more months faster than with her non-iPad approach. Several other teachers shared similar impressions about the iPad and the apps they are using helping students memorize math facts quickly and efficiently. Although we did not see much first hand, we did see examples or hear descriptions of some multimedia (video or slide stack) production used for students to show understanding of science, social studies research or math concepts.

Using McREL teacher evaluation rubric, I would say most of what we learned about thier use falls in the “Accomplished” range with some hints and suggestions of “Distinguished”, see descriptions below:

  • Accomplished: Teacher integrates technology with instruction to maximize student learning
  • Distinguished: Teacher provides evidence of student engagement in higher level thinking skills through the integration of technology.

When I see “higher level thinking skills” of course I think of the revised bloom’s taxonomy. Most of the iPad use was rather low on the taxonomy. This is not a bad thing. Students need to memorize things and the iPad is helping. I would suggest though that they have some room to grow  and will reap more benefits in the analyze, evaluate, create areas as the staff has more experience with the devices.

The Revised Bloom's Taxonomy

I observed students using or demonstrating the following:

  •  math apps – game style on:
  • letter formation app
  • phonics apps
    • initial sound match
    • sound to symbol
  • entering and processing text
  • video production, student made end to end
  • multimedia presentation examples (keynote)
  • drawing app w EC students, square with dimension labels

talked about or showed the following:

  • art apps
  • ceramics apps
  • iMovie to create research project product (NC regions)
  • math videos