iPads in the Classroom

by Trey Tracy

As a “tech geek” I’m all for new gadgets and technology. I am rarely found without my iPad. Had the iPad been available when I was in high school or college, I would have quickly embraced it to help with my schoolwork.

The iPad is certainly becoming the norm in schools. Private schools are adopting the technology in order to stay competitive. FPDS is no different. Two years ago we purchased our first iPad cart and introduced it to the fifth and sixth grades. Last year, with the generosity of some of the Holiday Potpourri funds, we purchased another iPad cart for third grade. This year we will use Holiday Potpourri funds to purchase iPad carts for first, second and fourth grades, making the technology available to every grade.

Where is FPDS heading with the iPads? First, it is our opinion that younger children do not need to be in front of the screen all day long.  Therefore, at this point, our students will have limited iPad time each week. We see the iPad as  a tool to enhance learning, not to replace teaching, especially in the elementary environment. Teachers will use apps appropriate for what their students are learning during a given period to further reinforce lessons.

How do we ensure that the iPads will be used? We felt it was important to provide each teacher with an iPad. If teachers are not comfortable with the technology, it will not be used to its full potential. At the beginning of this school year, Apple’s professional development team was brought in to work with our teachers in a day-long workshop on how to effectively use the iPads in a “creative” way. Our teachers finished the workshop with excitement as they saw the potential that the iPads will have in their classrooms. Many of our teachers are already embracing the iPad in their lessons and are learning more and more unique ways to use it everyday.

I smile when I see the excitement on the students’ faces when they see the iPads being delivered to the classroom for them to use. Since last year our third grade students have been engaging with the iPads through educational games such as Stack the States. Who says games have to be about shooting at people, flinging birds, or running from monkeys to be fun? These students really get into the educational games. So I recommend if you have an iPad or iPod in your home, load some of these games and watch your children have so much fun while learning. As the school year progresses we will do our best to recommend apps that our students are using that you may want to purchase at home.

The iPad has changed the world of technology in such a short period of time. Looking around, you see the device in most homes. So why not embrace the technology to reinforce education?