“We are excited that with this 1:1 Initiative we are not only able to even the technology playing field and offer every child an incredible learning tool, but that we can also teach them how to use it effectively and productively. Students can use the devices in various ways for improved communication, collaboration and creativity,” Angie Carlisle, a teacher at the middle school who has had iPads in her classrooms for the past four years.

Posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 8:48 am, Grand Rapids Herald Review

There’s been a lot in the news lately about the new iPad rollout at ISD 318 and the plans to use the devices to enhance and enrich learning. But what will that learning look like? By no means will iPads take the focus from teachers, but there are a number of apps that are certain to help kids learn inside and outside the classroom. Here are just a few.

  • IXL – IXL is a mathematics app for grades K through 12. Students of all ages can practice math problems while earning virtual rewards. Based on the popular learning website, this app guides students through a series of problems on a topic and explains areas where they went wrong. Parents can even access reports from www.ixl.com that show where their child could use extra help.
  • Production Tools – Each iPad will include the production tools Pages, Keynote and Numbers, which will allow students to develop skills in word processing, presentations and spreadsheets, in turn helping prepare them for college and the workforce.
  • This Day in History – This user friendly app allows kids to access historical events that took place on a given day. Each event contains a brief explanation of the person, place, or event, giving students a brief snapshot into the past
  • SkyORB – SkyORB brings a virtual planetarium right into your hand. Students (and parents) can learn to identify all the constellations in our vast northern sky. Children can view the night’s sky and identify stars. The app also contains a calendar of upcoming stellar events along with weather data.
  • TED Talks – The famous short talks come right to your tablet with this app. Students can explore their favorite topic with fascinating experts. The app will give them access to agricultural, architectural, cultural, and political science experts to name just a few.

These are just a few of the apps that will be in student hands and backpacks next year. With the aid of their teachers and the new 1:1 initiative, children will have even more access to learning tools. Other apps include those that aid in research, create presentations, and access classroom materials. “We are excited that with this 1:1 Initiative we are not only able to even the technology playing field and offer every child an incredible learning tool, but that we can also teach them how to use it effectively and productively. Students can use the devices in various ways for improved communication, collaboration and creativity,” said Angie Carlisle, a teacher at the middle school who has had iPads in her classrooms for the past four years.

Of course, there will be limits to what can be placed on the iPads. Students will not be able to add their own apps, but instead the devices will be governed by a device management program called Lightspeed. This management system will allow the same robust filters applied in the schools to be used when the devices access public or home wireless networks. This means that students will have the same safety nets in place at school, in the community, and at home. Importantly, home Internet access won’t even be required for these devices. Students will be taught to access documents and course materials using the school network to allow them to do homework on the bus or at home without using the iPad’s wireless capabilities.

Parents won’t be left out either. As the new school year approaches, parents will be invited to attend information and training sessions on the devices. Training videos for parents will also be made available. Information and training session dates and times will be placed on the District website atwww.isd318.org. Information will also be made available at the elementary and middle school open houses on Thursday, Aug. 28, 3 – 5 p.m.

For more information about the iPads or the 1:1 Initiative visit the District’s website at www.isd318.org and choose the Teaching and Learning tab, or contact Assistant Superintendent Rochelle Van Den Heuvel at 218-327-5706 or rvandenheuvel@isd318.org.