Learning First Update

iPads Increase Creativity for Students
Posted on 12/17/2018
kindrgarten students use iPads to record their thinking

The Learning First initiative is well underway, and students are using iPads to demonstrate their learning in new ways.

This year every kindergartener, third-grade and sixth-grade student has access to an individual iPad throughout the day. In three years, all students will have iPads.

The Learning First philosophy focuses on integrating the use of technology in the classroom with an emphasis on enhancing, extending and/or engaging learning. It also strives for a balance between using iPads and other traditional classroom tools.

Judi Epcke, Instructional Technology Coordinator, provided examples to the Board of Education at its Dec. 11 meeting from each of three grade levels involved in year one of the initiative.

 “There is an emphasis on creation and to document what students know, rather than simply consuming information,” Ms. Epcke said.

Examples included kindergarteners that recorded explanations of their science experiment drawings and received recorded comments from their teacher.

Third-graders studied countries around the world, zooming in on Google Maps to see towns and schools. They also took photos of their math work and then recorded their thinking on how they solved the equation. Other students created videos about their animal research projects.

In sixth grade, students studied different countries and then used their knowledge to create travel presentations. Band students completed assessments by recording themselves playing scales and sending it to the band director. 

Teachers are also developing their skills by following Apple Teacher instruction to get the most out of the Apps that are native to the iPads. Teachers are also supported by tech coaches, teacher tech leaders and IT staff. By the end of the 2020-21 school year, all teachers are expected to complete online coursework and become Apple Certified Teachers.

In addition, a Digital Citizens Task Force is developing a K-8 curriculum for next year that will help students learn to navigate the digital world.

“The teachers are the key to the success of this initiative. It is an initiative about learning, not about iPads. They are planning meaningful learning experiences and using the iPad as a tool to engage students and enhance and extend learning,” Ms. Epcke said.
6th grade students use iPads for research