iPads enhancing MA classrooms, test scores

DSC01269Already one of the world’s most popular high tech gadgets, the implementation of iPad usage at Marengo Academy has served to enhance the curriculum in ways that are bearing fruit in test scores.

The MA Board of Directors committed to purchasing and implementing iPads at the beginning of the 2012-2013 academic year. After only a few months of utilizing the devices, teachers have already reported a dramatic impact on both the interest levels and grades of their students.

DSC01274“The iPads have been motivational in helping students in areas of weakness. Instead of giving them a worksheet, they are excited to get 20 minutes of iPad time in an area where they are struggling,” Penny Creel, a teacher at Marengo Academy Elementary, said of how the instruments are effecting her classroom. “On the other hand, the iPads are helpful to challenge those students who need an extra challenge.”

The iPad technology has allowed teachers to use a variety of apps that create interactive, hands-on learning experiences. The usage of the high tech tablets has proven a productive initiative as students have shown a newfound flare for the learning process.

“Of course, the students are thrilled to have access to iPads. When I roll the iPads in, they know it’s going to be a fun-filled lesson. It’s a new way of learning and the students love the hands-on activities,” MA Elementary teacher Wendy Sammons said. “Whether they think so or not, they are learning and it shows in their grades.”

DSC01279“I have a great group of second graders, and they are excited about the iPads,” Creel said. “Of course, they are a nice break from paper, pencils and books. Whenever we use a new app, they will write it down on a sticky note and download it at home. This reinforces what we are learning in the classroom.”

The iPad makes available an array of applications specific to each subject area, giving teachers an endless assortment of avenues by which to deliver information to their students.

DSC01278“In reading, we mostly use the iPads for Accelerated Reading. This has helped the students with comprehension, and I have seen a raise in our weekly test scores,” Creel said. “Math has been our favorite subject in which to use the iPads. Apps such as Math Kid have been useful in learning basic addition and subtraction facts and more difficult concepts such as borrowing, time and money. The students are also excited about Stacking the States. This helps them learn facts about the states and their locations. The kindergarten and first grade classes are using the iPads in phonics, reading and math as well.”

DSC01283“I have used several math apps to help reinforce skills taught in the classroom. Many of these apps are also geared towards the Common Core Standards that most states have now adopted,” Sammons said. “One of the apps that I’ve recently used is the GeoBoard app to reinforce the concept of area and perimeter. The Teaching Graphs app is also great for teaching the different types of graphs and my students were able to create their own graphs. Another app that is great for reviewing the basics with my students is Math Board. I divide my class into math teams and they compete using the Math Board quizzes. We have also used apps to learn about fractions. Apps that I’ve used in my history classes are American Quiz, History Trivia, This Day in History, US Presidents and Stack the States.”

DSC01288While teachers have already seen a profound impact from iPad usage, the likelihood is that educators will find countless more ways to utilize the tools as the grow more accustomed to the instruments.

“I feel that we have only begun to scratch the surface with the iPads. Each week we are adding apps that we feel enhance our students’ education,” Creel said. “I am excited about all the possibilities and ways we can utilize them in the classroom.

DSC01280For Sammons, the iPad has opened a whole new avenue that not only enhances her curriculum in the classroom, but also has served to help her see a whole new world of educational possibilities.

“There are so many apps out there that it can be overwhelming at times trying to choose the best apps, so I’m constantly checking out websites like www.teacherswithapps.com and www.bestappsforkids.com to find the most recommended apps to use in the classroom. In preparing some of my lessons, I use the Educreations app to record lessons. With this app, I can plug my iPad into my classroom projector, and I practically have my very own smart board. I can also make these lessons available on my webpage for students to review later,” Sammons said. “I don’t know all there is to know about using the iPad, and I tell my students that I learn something new everyday. Many of my students have their own personal iPads and they are also teaching me new tips and tricks. I am always willing to try something new so the possibilities are endless.”