Simply buying iPads will not transform a classroom, as most educators know. But by understanding the devices’ capabilities and limitations, and learning from others’ efforts, teachers can introduce tablets to their students with expectations of meaningful impact. It has been four years since the Mineola Union Free School District implemented iPads 1:1 in two schools, helping us transform education by redefining the meaning of student growth. We have valuable experience to share, as we also continue to learn.
Teachers can use iPads in the classroom in myriad ways. Using educational researcher Ruben Puentedura’s
SAMR model as a framework, we have summarized some of the practices that we have found successful in our school district :
1) iPads complement current instructional practices:
2) Students use iPads to complete existing tasks, with no functional change in the work they’re doing:
3) Students use iPads to complete existing tasks, with functional improvement in both the richness of the work and the feedback it receives:
4) iPads allow teachers to significantly redesign assignments:
5) iPads allow teachers to create new and previously inconceivable tasks:
The SAMR model is just one way to ascertain a successful iPad implementation. But skepticism remains about whether tablets can truly increase student achievement. Thus any evaluation of an iPad program requires a careful examination of student work.
School4one's workflow app, we have done just that. The creation of daily digital assignments provides teachers with an overwhelming amount of student material. Moreover, since student work is collected over time, growth is easily tracked. Imagine looking at an assignment in a specific standard in September and then comparing it against that student’s work in the same standard in June. Technology has allowed us to finally realize student portfolios in an easy, efficient and progressive manner.
Putting a dynamic iPad program in place involves many steps, as illustrated above. A thoughtful progression can make the difference between using iPads as paperweights or as key tools to successfully introduce new instructional methods.
Here is a list of our classroom-tested best practices for a successful iPad implementation: