Digital Learning Experience
You see students working on iPads and Chromebooks throughout the day in our hallways and classrooms. Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, all students in preschool through second grade have an iPad for their use in school. Middle School students each have a Chromebook. The technology enhances teaching and learning in profound ways.
We launched our Digital Learning Experience in Middle School in August, 2014. Each sixth, seventh and eighth grade student is loaned a Chromebook to use throughout the day – at school and at home. The easy access to technology changes the way students conduct research in history, design projects in science, begin Spanish class, and write papers in language arts.
Dr. Allen Macfarlane, middle school science teacher, says students are embracing opportunities to work together. “In science we have been using the Chromebooks in a collaborative project to design and build a greenhouse. Along the way, students are finding and using data on climate water resources, the needs of vegetable plantings, renewable sources of energy, and a greenhouse design project.”
Our Spanish teacher uses the Chromebooks daily for formative assessments - “I can see at a glance if students have understood certain concepts and which ones need to be retaught” - as well as for summative assessments like weekly quizzes. Spanish class often begins with a "bell ringer" quiz.
In language arts, the writing process - draft, proofread, edit, and print in the classroom - has been greatly enhanced by the new technology. Chromebooks allow teachers to monitor and critique students as they work. Our sixth grade students were able to Google (in class) an interview with RJ Palacio, the author of Wonder, a book the class read in the spring semester. Through this interview, students were able to discover the source of Palacio's ideas for the novel, leading to greater insight in class discussions. Students also selected a scene from the book and used the "Scratch" program to illustrate that scene.
Preschool through second grade students use iPads every day in the classroom. Our first-grade students’ worlds are expanding with access to programs designed to complement our reading and math programs. In addition, the iPads provide countless creative opportunities to enhance our students’ learning. First grade teacher Jaime Frederick describes the excitement in the classroom: “The students are always eager and excited to use the iPads. They not only use them individually, but they also join group games and play against one another. This provides a challenge and gets them excited about learning.”
The addition of iPads and Chromebooks to our classrooms has created new and exciting ways to learn, and teachers are making great use of the opportunities they offer.