RPDS has dramatically expanded its use of iPads in the classroom. In 2016 RPDS launched the 1:1 iPad program for students in 4th - 6th Grade. Each educator and student is provided the most current Apple iPad. The ultimate expectation of this curricular program is to transform student learning experiences to foster higher levels of achievement and greater creativity through the use of technology.
Prior to 2016, RPDS had employed technology of all types in support of learning outcomes; however, the devices and software utilized were sometimes stationary, shared among students and across grades, and tended to require expensive software application licensing. Our experimentation with personal mobile devices made it clear that for true transformational learning, students required a device and software that traveled with them throughout the learning process. RPDS teachers favored Apple iPads and its associated applications. Moving into the 2019 school year, RPDS now is 1:1 from 2nd - 6th Grade. Students in 2nd - 4th Grade do not take their iPads home, but use them throughout the day at school. Our 5th and 6th Grade students can take their iPads home in order to complete assignments and extend their learning. There are also shared iPads for our students in PreK 3 – 1st Grade, and all teachers have been provided an iPad. This amounts to over 400 iPads on our campus.
The RPDS faculty found Dr. Ruben Puentedura’s SAMR model (Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition) especially meaningful. The SAMR model provides the teacher with a technique for evaluating their specific uses of technology in designing lesson plans. RPDS teachers are encouraged to include teacher-centered uses and student-centered uses for this technology as they develop new pedagogical methods. Our teachers also reflect upon the positive and negative aspects of using technology in their classrooms both monthly and annually as they work with each other and during performance evaluations.
While all learning activities at RPDS are designed to develop student skills and to increase student achievement, there are additional expectations that we have of our technology program. Educational research has reported that iPad use in the classroom by students has been found to increase the key 21st Century skills of student motivation and collaboration (Tynan-Wood, P21). Thus far in our utilization of these tools, we too have seen the smiles on our students' faces and engagement as they have been working in groups on their iPads to create iMovies, to make Explain Everything presentations, to code in Kodable, and to utilize new techniques such as employing green screen technology while filming to place themselves in different locations.