This year, we are piloting the use of iPads in three of our lower school classrooms, and I have been checking in to see how the program is coming along. The teachers tell me that they love having them, but that the learning curve is steeper than they had thought. They are finding that selecting the right programs to use and learning how to operate and manage them with students takes considerable preparation time and that their use is not always successful, which is one good reason why we pilot such programs before expanding them to more students.
Last week, I spent some time in Mark Potter's third grade classroom; one of the classrooms that is piloting the iPad program. I asked one of Mark's students how she was finding her experience with the iPads. She said that she was very excited about using them and showed me one of the math problems she had just done.
Using the iPad, she had taken a picture of a word problem that had been handed out in class. She then used a program to record her description of how she solved the problem, while underlining the critical components of the problem and writing an algorithm.
Mr. Potter told me that later in the day, when he reviewed her math work, the iPad allowed him to hear her voice and to see how she had worked through the problem. He shared that by listening and watching how students solved their problems it helped him learn how to modify his teaching in order to help them become better at math.
We love technology at GDS, and we understand that it is a tool to improve learning, not an end in itself or a way to just have fun. Our teachers are learning more everyday about how to use computers to make learning more accessible to our students and to help teachers more quickly understand how they can help their students to learn and then demonstrate what they know.
Here is the link to see how the student both thought about and solved the word problem she was given.