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Canada Vancouver School Has Embraced iPads, iPods and Apps

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by spnadmin, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    No more pencils, no more books: this Vancouver school has embraced iPads, iPods and apps

    Read more: http://www.{censored word, do not r...s+iPods+apps/4105875/story.html#ixzz1AytNYyh1

    For students attending one of Vancouver’s most popular public schools, the classroom is an exciting world of iPads, iPods, apps, laptops and SmartBoards.

    Even the youngest children at Elsie Roy elementary in Yaletown are using iPads as they learn to write the letters of the alphabet, pull them together into words and tackle basic addition and subtraction with colourful and interactive applications that make learning feel like fun.

    The school bought and began using 30 iPads in late November as part of an initiative sparked by Rosa Fazio, the dynamic and tech-friendly principal, and Param Chauhan, her likewise-keen partner in the iPad learning project. Two Grade 11 students from a nearby school, Albert Hynek and Samson Gama, offered to help with implementation because they also love the technology.

    The $25,000 purchase was made possible through generous donations from parents and service groups at a time when school districts say they’re strapped for cash.

    Elsie Roy has become a pioneer among Vancouver public schools. “I think a lot of people would like to be at the place we’re at,” Fazio said.

    The school also has 15 smaller media players called the iPod Touch, an array of laptop and desktop computers and interactive whiteboards known as SmartBoards. There’s no such thing as a ban on cellphones in this school — in fact, students are encouraged to bring their own smart devices to class to complement the collection.

    Fazio and Chauhan have big dreams, starting with building-wide Wi-Fi (rather than just hot spots), a new website that will connect teachers, students and parents online rather than simply serving as a bulletin board and “cloud-based” work spaces allowing students to access their school projects from home.

    “My enthusiasm is beyond control,” Fazio laughed while describing the many steps the school is taking as part of a drive to personalize learning in a way that appeals to all types of students. Personalized learning is the buzz word among B.C. educators who have embraced technology and the B.C. government’s push for 21st century learning.

    Change can’t come soon enough for Fazio, whose own children — aged two and five — use the iPad effortlessly.

    “We’re already 11 years into the 21st century,” she said. “I think there is more of an urgency than most people believe."

    The current effort is not “for the iPad but rather because of the iPad,” the school explained in a news letter. “The iPad is merely a tool.”

    Like most young people, students in her school love these new tools and, in some cases, know more about them than the adults. That means a change in the traditional power structure that gave teachers control over learning, Chauhan said. Now, “they have to concede the fact that they don’t have all the knowledge.”

    Fazio encourages her teachers to take the iPads home and experiment with them.

    Teacher Carolyn Fanning , handling a busy class of kindergarten children Thursday, was moving from a SmartBoard at the front of the class where two students were manipulating images, to a floor space where other children were playing with plastic dinosaurs, to tables where kids huddled over iPads.

    Her favourite apps? StarFall, Alpha Writer and the appropriately named TeachMe Kindergarten.

    This year, the school paid $4,400 in licensing fees to gain access to the apps.

    The iPads and iPods have also proven to be effective in teaching special-needs, gifted and ESL children, Fazio said, but the school is still experimenting. The early signs are encouraging with teachers noticing an increase in math skills, for example, among children using the Mathletics application.

    Two Grade 7 students, who said they have access to seven or eight smart devices in their homes, were clearly pleased with the school’s initiative. Jaxson Tennant, 12, said the iPad is easy to use and allows students to approach projects with “a design point of view.”

    Nemanja Asprovski, also 12, noted the technology gives students fast access to a lot of information, although both boys said they still like a textbook because it is a single source of information on a particular subject.

    Geoffrey Shmigelsky, who donated $15,000 toward the iPad purchase, said he hopes others parents will follow his lead and help schools buy the devices they need.

    "It's critical that schools embrace technology," he said. "Technology empowers kids - that's the bottom line. And we must teach them how to use it."

    The other iPad donation was from the Lions Club of Yaletown.

    Read more: http://www.{censored word, do not r...s+iPods+apps/4105875/story.html#ixzz1AytAKvLR

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