iPad use in local middle school promotes better teaching styles and hands-on learning

By MARYBETH WADE

Dee Koscik in her classroom at Woodward Academy using an iPad to teach her students.
Dee Koscik in her classroom at Woodward Academy using an iPad to teach her students.

Woodward Academy Middle School takes the new technology age by storm with opportunities to allow students to use iPads in the classroom.

The iPad, an Apple product, provides a variety of useful applications and techniques to adapt to the different learning styles of students. It also helps teachers better connect with their students on a more personal level.

“When I give a student a paper quiz, I have to take it home, mark it, sometimes it’s a day or two before I can get it back to them,” Koscik said. “If I were to give the same quiz on an iPad, I can give them immediate feedback automatically. Virtually in a second.”

Each student can adjust the settings of their own device to find what benefits their learning experience. The iPad allows for students to learn the same material in different ways.

Woodward Academy Middle School technology and instructional specialist, Dee Koscik, is preparing the faculty to equip them with the knowledge and understanding of how to incorporate the use of iPads in an educational environment. Over the last three years, Koscik has used a pilot set of iPads in her classroom.

After realizing the benefits of the iPad and educational growth each student experienced in her classroom, she felt that each child in the middle school should be given the same opportunity and experience.

“We purchased them for the middle school students, they are Woodward owned,” Koscik said. “They do have the option of buying it from us to use in 9th grade.”

The iPad provides the students with a chance to have a hands-on learning experience. The variety of free apps provided in the iPad store enhances each child’s education and ability to learn.

Koscik believes reading on an electronic device has proven to help students with dyslexia read faster and comprehend more. Students can increase the font size, and show more white space to help with reading. The way a student reads, listens, and watches material in the classroom is enhanced.

The iPad reinforces the lessons taught in the classroom. Koscik teaches the use of Google Drive, Notability, and Explain Everything. These apps provide teachers with an interactive tool for lecture capture and screen casting. The principal of Woodward Academy Middle School, Ed Notestine, believes iPads are beneficial for the advancement of educational growth for each student.

“We’ve transitioned from researching in the library, to computer labs, and now iPads in the classroom,” Notestine said. “I think iPads are going to be useful for the students’  education and the teachers will enjoy the convenience of having them in the classroom.”

Teachers have to ability to record their lessons in the classroom for the students to watch at home. While watching the presentation again, students will pick up on information they could have missed in class. The benefit of watching a lesson presented again is repetition. The more a student is exposed to hearing the material, the higher the retention rate.

“It is an immediate assessment. I can let them work in groups, I can record my lesson and they can watch it at home,” Koscik said.

The concern for parents and teachers is how to manage the content the students have access to on the iPad. Koscik explains the importance of walking around the classroom and to stray away from teaching behind a desk.

It is important to be fully engaged with the students and allow for interaction. This gives the teachers more control and management of the activity on each student’s iPad, and students are more likely to stay on task.

There are plenty of management techniques teachers can use, Koscik said.

“The other thing you can do is you can lock down [applications], so if I wanted to give a quiz and I only wanted them to use one [application], you can lock it down so that they can not go other places on the iPad,” she said.

With the management techniques in mind, teachers and parents can embrace the use of iPads in the classroom with less apprehension. Koscik’s hope is for parents to realize the educational benefits the iPad can provide by allowing the children to learn in ways that works best for them; by typing, seeing, and doing.

“If we do not do this, we are not truly preparing children for their future,” Koscik said. “You are going to have to know how to use the computer, be paperless and be sustainable. That’s our job.”

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