In fall 2012, STA launched its 1:1 technology plan for middle school.
The 1:1 iPad program has enabled STA to create some new, highly engaging learning for students.
iPad App-based education promises to invigorate classroom learning by providing students with engrossing experiences that provide solid instruction. Engaging students with multimedia- rich, self-directed learning experiences is at the core of the tablet education.
iPads will continue to push us to revolutionize our middle school curriculum. Apps are a fun addition to learning, and digital textbooks have advantages over their printed counterparts. Yet digital education is so much more than putting all the old information on a new screen. iPads have and will complement our current use of Smartboard technology. Dynamically flowed hyper-linked texts, user-driven curriculum updates, self-paced video instruction, globally collaborative education projects, social media study groups – these are the true signs of our current digital learners.
The initial rollout was fall 2012 with all 6th grade students receiving iPads. We have offered iPad instruction in all core subjects for the entire sixth, seventh, and eighth grade classes these past three years. Going forward, each new 6th grade will also receive iPads which will serve them through graduation. All Middle School curriculum is and will be digital (6th, 7th and 8th grades). Also, this year, 2014-2015, STA has established the position of Instructional Technology Specialist to support the faculty in integrating technology into the curriculum.
Now that iPads have been in classrooms across the world for several years, some research is surfacing about their effectiveness. Studies show the iPad increases comprehension in all disciplines and reading literacy. This instruction is so personalized it benefits every student, even the disinterested. Students are engaged throughout the class period.The device encourages anywhere, anytime learning. It is untethered, digitally-rich learning.
The iPad enables teachers to promote collaborative, independent and differentiated learning, adapting to the needs of each learner. iPad educational content can deepen students’ content knowledge by exposing them to high-quality visual representations of places, people, events and concepts they may not otherwise experience.
iPads are used as a tool in the classroom. We are not eliminating textbooks completely, but the iPad has largely taken the place of the traditional textbook. The curriculum guide has always been the driving force behind the educational program. Application purchases have been in conjunction with the standards set forth in our Diocese of Dallas Curriculum.