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District's One-to-One iPad Initiative Results in Constant Use for Elementary Students

District's One-to-One iPad Initiative Results in Constant Use for Elementary Students

In third and fourth grade classrooms in a school in Mineola, N.Y., students use about 75 percent of the school day on their iPads following the district's adoption of a one-to-one iPad initiative, raising questions on the future of instruction in the digital world.

According to the Hechinger Report, "[a]t Jackson Avenue, which houses the third and fourth grades, all 417 children, including those in special education, have their own tablets, and they spend about 75 percent of their instructional day on the devices, more than many other schools that have embraced digital learning."

The article describes Mineola as an affluent district attempting to use heavy reliance on technology to help students meet Common Core standards.

"By embracing iPads while keeping the traditional model of one teacher working with 20-some children, the small school district offers a vision of what the future of digital learning might be," the article said.

In Morgan Mercaldi's class, assignments are mix between digital and paper elements. Students begin and end their day using their devices to do research while using paper to actually write their assignments.

"Mercaldi’s students received their iPads in October, and now move smoothly from pencil to touch screen and from paper to tablet."

Though the students use the iPads regularly, some are better at using the technology than others. And of course, the technology is not immune to glitches that need attention every once and a while.

One student, "Joseph Parrino has had trouble with the iPad’s flat electronic keyboard — 'my fingers slip,' he explains — and so has brought a plug-in keyboard from home. And several children say they prefer old-fashioned books to the digital alternative," the article said. In other words, not every digital native is entirely comfortable with the technology as might be assumed.

Students use their iPads for all subjects in Mercaldi's class. Beginning with English, ending with science and studying math in-between, students rely on their devices and educational apps to get work done.

Mercaldi says she has worked to find a balance between students being on and off the iPads, but, "[w]ith several hours during the school day on the iPads, plus homework time and other afterschool use, it’s not hard to imagine that some Jackson Avenue students may look at their tablets for six hours or more a day."

Of course, with one-to-one initiatives the question is always posed as to whether students will get distracted by the opportunity to use their devices for non-education related things. Studies have shown that students who use devices for learning can learn faster, but those who use for them for non-learning and give into distraction perform worse than all.

Educators within the district claim that this has not been an issue as students mostly know to stay on task in class.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

06/19/2015

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