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Fifth Graders Study With iPads In D30 Pilot Program

The Northbrook/Glenview School District 30 is testing an education program that lets fifth graders at Wescott and Willowbrook schools learn with the aid of a tablet.

The following article was submitted by Northbrook/Glenview School District 30.

During the April 18 District 30 Board of Education meeting, Director of Technology, Andrew Kohl and staff members discussed the status of the of the One + One = D30 iPad Pilot Project, which was introduced in November 2012 to fifth grade classrooms at Wescott and Willowbrook Schools.

"Welcome to the future," Kohl said. "District 30 believes that technology plays an important role in the learning process for students. Technology can connect students to learning in new ways and also empower them to seek out knowledge and contribute to the world of ideas. As a district, we strive to equip students with the tools necessary to develop critical 21st century learning skills."

He explained that the One + One project is intended to bridge the gap between how traditional classrooms function and what is considered best instruction in today’s “wired” culture.

"Through the mindful integration of technology and the use of a one-to-one device (the iPad), students are experiencing learning opportunities that would not have been possible before," Kohl said. "These opportunities are allowing teachers to bring students deeper into a topic and to take them farther."

Fifth graders take the iPad home with them and it is available to them during every subject and lesson. The iPad is a device that is capable of connecting to information, creating new learning products and communicating with teachers and classmates at any time.

It is also a simple, intuitive device that did not require a steep learning curve. Students have been having the opportunity to help change the definition of the classroom, from a single room at a single time, to a more immersive environment.

In the classroom, the iPad is also being used to connect students with new reading and writing opportunities, online learning resources and personal learning tools for keeping themselves organized (executive function) and communicating with teachers. The device is used throughout the day to enhance the curriculum and classroom work.

Faculty who contributed to the report included Elizabeth Greene, Daniel Rezac, Sue Weingarten, Liliam Connolley, Heidi Fletcher, Martine Ross, Whitney Doyle, Katie Peterson and Sammi Lipkin.

Since the introduction of the iPad, Liliam Connolly said that she has seen "more independent learning in the classroom."

Elizabeth Greene has been impressed with how the continuous introduction of new apps on the iPad has allowed students to improve their technological skills and to be more creative. Some examples of apps displayed included Popplets, videos, educational math games, i.e., Show Me, and a new way to create a bibliography dubbed Easy Bib.

Daniel Rezac said that the students are "portals to learning for other students, and have even created tutorials for different applications."

Sue Weingarten has observed how pupils are "more engaged when they see their work on a screen."

A survey of District 30 fifth grade parents received very positive responses to the One + One = District 30 iPad Pilot Program. Kohl would like to eventually see the expansion of the pilot throughout all grade levels.

"This is a very successful program. It is very important to stress that all of the technology integrated in the classrooms does not supplant the core learning skills already being addressed through our curriculum. Instead, these tools allow students to learn the foundations and beyond through the powerful use of technology," said Kohl.

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