It is imperative in this age of technology, that we meet students at their level of interest. Students today are a digitized society of learners. We use technology in every aspect of our lives so it is only sensible that we captivate our students with hands-on learning. The newest trend that has caught teachers and students attention is the use of iPads in the learning arena. We tend to think of the iPad as a social networking tool, but it has really taken off as a vehicle to enhance all core subjects.
The IPad is one of the hottest pieces of technology used by our students today. Old Union Elementary School students have taken the opportunity to incorporate iPads into their learning this year. This was due to a Carroll Education Foundation Grant and permission from the district was given to pilot the iPads.
Keri LeJeune, the OUES Quest teacher, wrote the grant hoping for an opportunity to expose students to a variety of technology tools. “I wanted to get the students actively engaged in the learning process, and I thought implementing the use of IPads into the daily lesson was the perfect way to accomplish that goal,” stated LeJeune.
“It has been exciting to watch students completely engaged in learning,” stated LeJeune. “The iPads allow students to be independent learners and to take responsibility for their learning. For example, students must learn and practice their math facts. This is a life- long skill that will enhance their math capabilities in future years.
There are several free or ninety nine cent apps that make it fun for students to practice math facts while at the same time requiring students to problem solve and use critical thinking skills,” replied LeJeune. She further explained that students are able to download Math Bingo, a ninety nine cent app created by ABCya.com, which requires the player to solve an equation then determine where he/she would like to place his bingo monster on the bingo card. Typically the correct answer appears more than once on the game board. This platform allows the student immediate feedback regarding the answer. Kakooma is another great math app. This particular app was created by a mathematician and children’s author, Greg Tang. This game combines computation and problem solving skills. The player sees nine numbers. The object is to find the three numbers that create an equation. It looks easy until you try to play! Kakooma has been quite popular with students who lack confidence in their math skills as well as with the higher achieving math student. Students are asking teachers for the names of the apps so they can download the apps at home to practice. No more worksheets!!
In addition to math skills, there are several apps to challenge students in language arts, science, and social studies. Parents can examine Stack the States. This app not only challenges students to recognize the shape of the state, but to learn something about the state as well. Players then have to determine the best way to manipulate the states and stack them in a limited space.
The iPad platform includes countless apps to engage students in differentiated learning. It allows students freedom of choice, while challenging them and creating a sense of independence with the touch of a screen.
LeJeune concluded by stating, “I believe that a diversified technology toolbox serves our students best. The iPad along with the other technology that CISD is implementing will help nurture and grow 21st Century Learners.”
The expansion of technology in education is quickly growing. Over the last several years, many K-12 school districts as well as universities have incorporated emerging technology such as IPads, IPhones, clickers, and Kindles into their daily lessons.
Since IPads make learning fun, several individual parent donors have contacted the principal to donate additional funding for IPads. Obviously, OUES teachers are creating diversified classrooms that incorporate more innovative approaches to learning.