I had the pleasure this morning to be part of our school young author’s share. Children of various age groups shared a piece of their writing.
While all pieces were wonderful to hear, a fifth grader named Isabel had written an article relating to her experiences with our schools iPad pilot that resonated.
I thought I would share it with you all as a well articulated viewpoint from students. There is a quote from Dan Stevens in it as well.
Are you learning more in school with the iPads?
By: Isabel Bosch
ASIJ lets their students use a type of technology that changes the way they learn at school. With just a few taps from their fingers they can search the web, write a report or send an e-mail. Anything is possible with this new invention called the iPad, but do they help you learn more in school?
Millie Kobayashi, a 5th grade student at the American School in Japan said, “The iPads definitely help us learn more. You can search things more quickly or read a book. You can do a lot with this little machine.” 14 out of the 16 students I interviewed said they know that the iPads help them learn more than they use to learn on a normal day at school because the world wide web has endless resources at your fingers tips on every subject. No waiting for a book at the library anymore, it’s there with a tap along with 100′s of other resources and videos on your topic.
Rogier Fransen said,” I think the iPads help us learn more because there is much more of a variety to learn from the web instead of out a book. There are also so many educational games that make you want to play for a long time. Even flashcards are available!”
ASIJ is not the only school experimenting with iPads. A school in North Carolina from my online research called Larne Elementary has a similar program. Jennifer Jacobson, a math teacher in Larne Elementary said,” This is a tool and behind every tool there has to be a good educator that knows how to use a tool.” Therefore is it the iPad or is it the teacher who uses the iPad to enhance what is being taught at school that make children learn more?
From what I have read, I believe both are very important but having the iPad is more fun for children. Also, teachers have access to a broader amount of information and how they use this can make for some interesting teaching. Therefore, it’s the combination of BOTH that take learning to a whole new level.
The iPad is spreading and going into more and more schools as the year progresses. Some schools are taking tests at the beginning of the year without the iPads and at the end of the year testing similar material with the iPads. Studies have shown that kids before (without the iPads) scored in a 50% range and now with the iPads students have scored in the 59% range. That is a 9 percent increase in learning. Mr. Stevens who teaches 5th grade at ASIJ says he “has not seen a huge change in children’s basic learning, but learning has increased because some children are visual learners.” He also stated ” that we have only been using iPads for three months and it is too early to tell if it has an overall affect on learning. It has allowed for quicker access to the Internet which has helped for research.”
“It gives a little more oomph than a paper or pencil,” says a 5th grade student. Students could practice math or language arts all day because the way kids feel when they touch the screens or play an educational game, its just mind blowing. It makes learning feel like fun. No one knew that the iPad would attract so many kids or even adults for that matter.
“I am so happy when Mr. Stevens says please pull out your iPads 5S,” says Thomas Durand. Maybe that is just it, when students have an opportunity to learn and be interactive, and the teachers re-enforce all those learnings on the iPad, then a child takes the iPad home and re- reviews material for homework, they get hit with the lesson in three different ways. Repetition and multiple ways of learning
the same materials makes for things to stick better.
Repetition is the key and teachers can embrace it for repeating things kids may have not understood or need review on. So yes it does help increase learning and allows classmates to stay connected with school. Even though there maybe only slight increases in children’s learning like math or english, the games or visual presentations help you put the iPad into more of a fun tool that makes learning exciting. Students admit that it is fun and they would hate to have it taken away. So utilizing the iPad in classrooms makes students try new things and can be open to learning.
For all these reasons, schools and teachers need to keep experimenting and measuring the results, so I say let’s keep investing in iPad learning.