Student Teachers Bring iPads Into Classrooms
In the Fall 2011 semester, two senior education majors explored the use of the iPad 2 in the classroom during their student teaching. Kerri Rogers and Kelly Joao, enrolled in EDST4001 (Senior Internship), focused on both practical and innovative uses of the device in local schools. They documented their progress in an online blog with Dr. Lauren McFadden from the Department of Educational Studies
. Dr. McFadden received the iPads as part of a Faculty Innovation Grant (FIG) awarded by the Teaching, Learning and Technology Center
Kerri Rogers, a student teacher in a self-contained special needs classroom at Ronald Reagan Academy in Elizabeth, felt that the iPad had a significant impact on classroom learning. She stated that the device enhanced communication among students and helped them develop a sense of independence. Working independently is usually difficult for her students, but the use of the iPad made it easier. With its frequent feedback and positive reinforcement, students were able to maintain focus and learn from their mistakes. As a result, teachers and support staff were able to effectively help other students needing one-on-one attention.
At Ronald Regan Academy, students exhibit various disabilities, ranging from language learning disabilities to autism and cerebral palsy. Kerri found a number of iPad apps that could support this population.A letter tracing app was helpful for a child with cerebral palsy. It provided an effective way to practice fine motor skills outside of weekly occupational therapy sessions.
Show Me Application.
- Kerri’s students with language learning disabilities often struggled with writing, making this important activity somewhat unpopular. To increase enthusiasm and interest, Kerri created a Halloween Digital Story assignment using the free Show Me App by Easel. Similar to an expensive physical interactive whiteboard, students eagerly wrote their narrations and recorded voice-overs, sharing them online with parents and school administrators. This same app can be used by teachers to record lessons for students who are absent or need extra support.
- Augmentative and alternative communication systems can be expensive ($10,000 or more). Kerri found an iPad app for less than $200 called Proloquo2Go that serves the same purpose. This app is designed for people who have difficulty speaking or cannot speak at all. This app is not only more cost effective, it also reduces the stigma that students using augmentative technology in the classroom can sometimes feel.
As a result of Kerri’s work at Ronald Regan Academy, the school’s IEP case manager purchased two iPads for every classroom and will use Kerri’s suggestions for educational applications.
Kerri also presented her experiences with Dr. McFadden in November 2011 at the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education's Centennial Celebration in Indianapolis. She also discussed the findings of her research project with incoming freshmen in Dr. McFadden’s classes.
Kelly Joao used her iPad in a fourth grade general education class at Kennedy Park No. 24 in Iselin, New Jersey. She focused on applications that could be used for classroom administration and support of content delivery. She found the following apps useful and would recommend them to K-6 teachers:
- Teacher Pal - a personal organizer that helps track attendance, grades, parent contact information and student behavior.
- Keynote – allows for importing of PowerPoint presentations for classroom teaching
- Everyday Mathematics - supported the McGraw-Hill Mathematics series text used in class which integrated the lessons taught through related games and quizzes.
Kelly also found it useful to download Google Books on her iPad, enabling her to project the book pages on the class screen. As a result of her experience, she would recommend having a number of iPads available for student use in a classroom. She found that the device enhanced the student experience and provided tools for better classroom management and enhanced productivity.
“The iPad is a great addition to any classroom. It’s both useful and fun, which I found really motivates students and teachers!”
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