Our teachers and students have embraced the benefits the iPad offers in supporting, teaching, and learning. Some of these instructional benefits include:
- Emphasis on visual learning and presentation with instant recording, editing, and integration of audio and video
- Wide range of easy-to-use apps
- Student access to the iPad in the classrooms of both pilot and non-pilot classes
- Improved student organization and management of work and learning
- Efficient and timely feedback from teacher to student
- Improved classroom routines and efficiency
The District will continue to explore devices in search of technology that best serves the changing educational needs of our learning community. The iPad evaluation efforts are ongoing.
CLASSROOM EFFICIENCY AND ROUTINES
Students might indicate unexpected results in a science lab, or a teacher could record a quick video explaining how a student made a mistake in a science calculation. Students and teachers report this type of feedback to be more meaningful and significant. Many teachers now also complete a cursory review of assignments and homework before class starts, so they can make adjustments on the fly for a concept the students may not have understood the previous day.
Teachers also indicate that iPads increase student preparation for class and reduce the time students and teachers need to spend on organizational tasks. Teachers are able to cover more content, and explore topics on a deeper, more meaningful level.
- Principles of Engineering - Students can analyze pictures of structures, such as bridges using an app that immediately provides measurements that can assist in calculating load or other important factors.
- AP English Teachers report increases in comprehension and understanding of difficult vocabulary, since students can simply click on a word to see its definition using the iBooks app. Students use the annotation feature, allows them to highlight text and take notes. The search feature allows students to spot trends in language in phrasing, and to better understand when similar words and phrases are used throughout the book.
- In another AP English classroom, students create a visual essay, which allows them to link images and text to make an argument about a particular topic. In the past, students used a web-based program on a computer to complete this assignment. Now, students use an app that allows them to easily combine text and video into a visual essay, which can be shared with the teacher, and easily presented to the class.
- As Junior English students prepare to write their junior theme, the iPad has become an integral part of the research process, bringing the resources of the library to their fingertips in the classroom and at home. They have access to New Trier's rich array of journal subscriptions, eBooks, and other publications. They also use apps like Flipboard and Longform to locate long form journalism articles from such publications as The Atlantic or The New Yorker . They can also access resources like TED Talks, as they work to incorporate sources beyond the written word. As they find these resources and progress towards finding a topic, they use the iPad to annotate and create reflections about how their interest is shaped into a more defined topic area. These analyses are shared with the teacher via Google Drive, which allows him or her to monitor progress on a continuous basis and provide feedback, which is an improvement over the traditional method of submitting written drafts on a set schedule.
- In Anatomy and Physiology , students construct their own knowledge of complex scientific processes and demonstrate that knowledge through embedding pictures, audio, and video into presentations and written documents. As an example, rather than simply reading about the process of muscle contraction, students create and narrate an animation of the various steps of this intricate process. These animation tutorials also serve as a study aide all students can use later through whole class sharing on YouTube.
- In Biology , the student lab report has been re-envisioned, allowing students to create a multimedia product that demonstrates their learning. They use the Pages app to author their reports, which allows them to incorporate images and video with the simple click of a button. Data and charts, once written out by hand, are now quickly entered in the Numbers spreadsheet app and embedded into the report, which allows the student to focus on sophisticated and in-depth analysis of data.
- In Physics , students study concepts, such as the movement of waves in water, which are difficult to see. In past years, students used a water tank, which is an imperfect process that produces inconsistent results and is difficult to observe. This year, a brief demonstration was presented in class, and students used a wave simulator on the iPad with a virtual tank to observe the phenomenon in more depth, outside of class, leading to great understanding and comprehension. Having access to the wave simulator for all students through the iPad allows the teacher to construct a lesson where he or she can decide whether the clarity of a simulator or a physical lab is most appropriate.
- Students in Sports Medicine learn about ankle injuries, and complete a corresponding lab where they learn how to tape an ankle. Previously, the instructor would demonstrate ankle taping, and then spend the rest of the period demonstrating the same concept to each lab group on an individual basis. Now, one student tapes the initial demonstration, and the instructor posts the file so students can review it and watch it at their own pace, both in and outside of class. Rather than repeating the same demonstration a dozen times in class, the instructor can now provide more meaningful and in-depth feedback to students.
- Students in Sports Medicine now take electronic notes on their reading assignments, which are submitted to the teacher. The teacher can then provide immediate feedback and review, and reports that this has increased student preparation and participation, allowing him to cover more material at a deeper level in class.
Modern and Classical Languages
- In French 4 , the teacher authored several short stories he distributed to the students in iBook. These stories align closely with the curriculum of the class, and utilize features such as embedded video, audio, and pictures. Students read and annotate the stories, and use functions such as the dictionary to better understand what they are reading.
- Students taking Chinese classes must learn the difficult process of writing Chinese characters, which previously could only be done using paper and pencil. Using the touch screen on the iPad and a stylus, students can practice creating characters and receive immediate feedback from the app, or submit the files to the teacher for assessment. Students in Chinese also can practice the language and pronunciation easily using the built-in microphone on the iPad. The recordings can be uploaded for the teacher, who can give immediate assessment. Previously, this type of practice was only available once every ten class days in the language lab. In both cases, the feedback from the teacher to the student occurs more quickly and is more meaningful.
- In Spanish , the use of the iPad complements the use of the TPRS (Teaching Proficiency Through Reading and Storytelling) methodology, which teaches the language through reading and storytelling. Students are now able to author and produce short videos of skits, which demonstrate their writing, speaking, and grammar skills. Previously, this process was cumbersome, using cameras and complicated editing software in a computer lab. Now, this process can occur in the classroom and at home, and the focus is not on technology, but rather on language learning. This method has resulted in stronger student engagement and comprehension.
- In Social Studies classrooms, students can immediately access primary source documents, which can be used for their research or in small group activities.
- Topics of Psychology and Sociology students demonstrate difficult situations through the use of puppetry and voice recording apps on the iPad, which provides a less stressful experience for presenting on topics that may be uncomfortable for the students to discuss face to face.
- American Studies classes create documentary projects, either podcasts or short movies interviewing off-campus individuals about their role in historical events. These projects use current and historical multi-media to demonstrate an enriched understanding of history which is then shared with others.