Instead of having to stand in front of her class to explain a lesson, fourth-grade teacher Lauren Pope can have her students use iPad computers to watch a presentation she’s prepared. Pope said this enables her to walk around the classroom and help students.
This is one of the ways the teacher is using iPads in her classroom at David Brewer Elementary School.
The Leavenworth public school system introduced iPads to all third- and fourth-grade classes this school year with the idea of expanding to other classrooms in the future.
“They use them in all subject areas in third and fourth grade,” said Kevin Hansford, director of research, evaluation and instructional technology for the district.
He said teachers received their iPads at the end of summer. The student iPads were introduced in October. Enough iPads were purchased to allow one for every two students in the third and fourth grade.
Hansford said teachers use the iPads as another tool in their classrooms. Teachers collaborate regarding the best applications to use.
“They do a lot of their research on it,” Pope said of her students.
Her students have used the iPad computers to create video presentations including campaign commercials as part of an election unit.
She said students enjoy using barcode, or quick response code, readers on the iPads that can be used to open links to assignments.
And there are games available that help students practice things such as math skills.
Hansford said teachers can project what appears on their iPads onto large screens for their students to see.
He said even the teachers who initially were the least comfortable with the iPads are seeing the benefits of the computers.
“This is what engages kids,” he said.
As new textbooks are adopted, school officials will look at what products are available that can be used with the iPads, he said.
So far, only one of the new iPads being used in the classrooms has been damaged. Hansford said district personnel have the ability to repair the computers in-house, performing maintenance such as replacing screens when needed.
For the next phase of introducing iPads into classrooms, school officials plan to purchase enough of the computers for each fifth- and sixth-grader in the district. He said school officials will be coming to the school board with a proposal for this phase.
“We feel like we can manage phase two in the next school year,” he said.
He said fifth- and sixth-grade teachers already are familiarizing themselves with the iPads, looking at ways the computers can be used next year.
“They’re getting comfortable with them,” he said.