The first grade students at Burris Laboratory School in Muncie, Indiana, are a little bit different from other elementary school students their age across the country. They do not look any different, nor are they learning from a different curriculum. However, they do have a blog.
Last August, the Indiana Department of Education gave a $200,000 grant to the school, allowing students in kindergarten through fifth grade to have their own iPads. The teachers also received their own iPads.
“It has been a wonderful experience, for the students and for me, ” said Stefanie Onieal, a first-grade teacher who was also one of the authors of the grant.
So what can you find on the blog that these students have created. Among many other things, you can find students’ recent letters to Santa (which they wrote on their iPads), photos of nouns found in their classrooms (the pictures were taken on the iPads), and a fire safety public service announcement (which, of course, was created on the iPads).The blog is viewable for parents at any time, which helps them stay up to date on what their children are learning in school.
“I think parents feel more involved, included in the classroom,” Onieal said about the blog. Many teachers also have Twitter accounts, which parents can subscribe to in order to get even more updates about their students’ days at school.
In addition to maintaining their blog, the students are learning how to solve problems they encounter on the iPads by themselves.
“They have discovered so many things on their own, just by trying things out,” said Onieal.
With technology continuing to develop and evolve as it has been doing for the past few years, I think this is a great way to help students prepare for the “real world.” In the future, I would not be surprised if tablets like the iPad were on school supply lists because they really are beneficial learning tools. So, cheers to the students at Burris Laboratory School; it seems like you guys are on the right track to me!
Via The Star Press
Technology and Education: the iPad Project