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Students Cheer 1:1: Dennis Villano

IPadsBurlingtonsmall
DennisVillanosmall Reviewer:  Dennis Villano

Position:  Media and Technology Specialist

District/School:  Burlington Public Schools - Burlington, MA

Number of Students in District/School:  1100 students at Burlington High School

Product:  iPads (Apple)

When was the last time you brought a cart of devices into a classroom and actually heard kids cheer? When was the last time your students displayed incredible excitement for the chance to use a device for educational purposes? ~ Dennis Villano

Goals: 

We are providing every high school student with an iPad in order to build a learning environment that will best prepare our students for college and the work place. The use of the iPad will allow for the infusion of a digital curriculum and the extension of learning beyond the classroom walls.

Response: 

Any 1:1 initiative has the potential to be an incredibly successful educational program, however, success comes from the results of many factors. Teacher support may be the most critical factor. Helping teachers feel comfortable, allowing collaboration time, and providing ongoing guidance are important throughout the entire process.

Students are very excited. They realize that a 1:1 environment can be very beneficial and they certainly think the iPad is a great device. I love that they are so engaged when using the iPads. The coolness factor is definitely a plus. The Burlington community has been very supportive. We are lucky to be working in a community that sees the value in the 1:1 initiative. The teachers are excited, too, but they need a lot of support with digital curriculum creation.

Learning Curve: 

The learning curve is one of the major reasons we selected iPads for our 1:1 device. I have trained students and teachers on many technology products and I have never found one as simple to introduce, simple to teach people about, and easy to explore. While we ultimately want the 1:1 environment to include students bringing in their own devices, we felt that having one device to start would help facilitate an easier transition for teachers into a digital curriculum. We were concerned that having several different devices in a classroom could be overwhelming. The iPad’s powerful simplicity creates a positive foundation for teachers to learn and collaborate about digital curriculum.

How We Use It: 

The iPad truly serves as the ideal, all-in-one content delivery and creation device. Students can use iPads for nearly every task needed in class. The iPad enables teachers to develop and distribute digital content to students. The diversity in available content, whether through web resources, apps, or ebooks, provides our students with the instructional materials and collaboration opportunities that we hoped to achieve in the 1:1 learning environment. The available iOS apps and built in cameras also enable students to create their own digital content without the need for peripheral devices.

What’s Ahead: 

We are planning extensive-ongoing teacher support and training opportunities to help facilitate the creation of digital curriculum content. We will have a large team of students helping as a tech crew supporting their peers and teachers as part of a new Digital Industry course. We are building a Cyber Café for students and teachers as a comfortable place to relax, collaborate, and continue classroom discussions. Students will even be developing apps for curriculum and school related information.

Reviewer’s Notes: 

Teaching with iPads provides fast and easy access to the Internet, great apps that can often be tied directly into curriculum, and a truly hands-on approach to learning. I also don’t think there is anything wrong with incorporating a device that helps get kids excited to learn—partially because it’s so cool.

My favorite part about students using iPads in a 1:1 environment is how engaged and excited students are about learning. I have never had students so engaged using a technology product in class. Nothing even comes close.

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