So, why did we, in Middle Key, decide to roll out a 1:1 iPad program? Well, the decision to go to a 1:1 took a lot of thought, research, and now commitment, but choosing the iPad was the easy part. Every one of our 15 students had an Apple device, and each was using a Mac as their primary device, except for 1. They were more than familiar with the product AND they really liked it. It felt SAFE to them. So, when the iPad was introduced we weren’t dealing with anxiety over the device, just questions about how the device was going to work within our program.
Many of our students had been on an iPad. Their family owned one and if they didn’t , they were excited to be getting one. The key to this program working was that each student ‘owned’ their iPad. This ensured that they could save to it. They were responsible for this incredible device. Ownership. Independence. It was personalized.
Our students follow the exact same curriculum as our mainstream students, the only difference is in how they learn and in how they show what they know. This means that often pen to paper is not the best way for students to express their knowledge or creativity. Enter the iPad.
It does not require a pen and paper. It is safe. It is tactile. It is visual. It is intuitive. There are 1000’s of apps that when accessed by students, help to equalize their learning environment . When used, students are able to show what they know, instead of having their knowledge, understanding, and ideas hidden beneath the weight of pens, papers and books, which often highlight their learning differences. Using the iPad unleashes student learning, no longer constrained by the writing process and all that traditionally comes with it.
With ease students can import pictures, videos, and graphics into their work. They are able to design their own graphics and link other media into their assignments. Many of the apps we use are connected, allowing creativity to flourish. Their work looks amazing and they have done it all on their own. They are proud.
What we didn’t expect from the iPad is how well it supports student organization. Keeping track of assignments, class notes, and ongoing work can be difficult. With an iPad, students know where to find their work. It is all in one place. Classwork, homework, assignments, tests and quizzes can all be stored or clouded on the iPad.
Perfect it is not. We do run into some issues, as you would with any sort of technology. Occasionally we want to use a program and it isn’t easily supported by the iPad yet, but it will come. We are excited about our iPad classroom and for what is to come.