The 2010-2011 school year has brought change to the way students learn. Students all over the district will soon be utilizing anytime, anywhere learning via an iPod Touch or an iPad. Students will use these devices to increase their learning. They will be used to teach the core curriculum, as intervention, and as challenge activities.
The iPad and the iPod Touch’s were chosen by CUSD because they are smaller, more mobile devices with a lower cost than a traditional computer. They answer the questions regarding student engagement by offering thousands of educational applications (“Apps”) which stimulate the student and support the core material. These “apps”’ along with access to the world wide web, give the students the ability to learn in ways the traditional classroom experience cannot offer.
The mobile devices will provide CUSD students the opportunity to harness learning experiences in real-time. The devices use less electricity than traditional laptop computers, use the district’s filtered wireless network, and can be used to access information and resources immediately. The devices will hold a variety of educational “apps”, depending on grade level and subject matter. Applications such as a dictionary, calculator, voice recording device, books, maps, and an encyclopedia will be standard on all devices. IN addition, teachers will be able to choose specific “apps” that enhance their core curriculum. The iPad and iPod Touch will also give the students the ability to create and share their work with their teachers and other students, providing a learning environment that is not harnessed by the classroom walls.
CUSD is using these pilot projects to determine the vision of future mobile device usage with students. They will be rolled out to the school sites in the order the district received their requests.
The teachers are required to attend a introductory workshop in order to receive their device, and then devote time to professional development on a regular basis in order to continue to meet the needs of the students. The teachers are a vital part of this program and without their willingness to learn and incorporate this technology, the programs will not be successful.
The devices will never replace the teacher in the classroom, as they are the facilitator of learning and will guide their students as they use this cutting edge technology in the classroom.
The voice recorder on both the iPad and the iPod Touch will give the students the ability to work on both fluency and reading comprehension at all grade levels. The students record themselves reading and then when the device is synced to the computer, there is a digital portfolio of the students work. This enables the student and the teacher to track their progress and work on specific strategies to help improve their skills. The goal with this part of the program is to help the district achieve its goal of every student reading on grade level and scoring proficient or above on the California State Test (CST).