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2012-2013 Grade Three Team, RJ Hawkey: ULE with iPads

Research Question: How will the use of iPad technology help create universal learning environments and promote student engagement and achievement?


“Engage, Enrich, Empower.” By incorporating four iPads into each of our grade three classrooms, we envision our community of learners to become more engaged within their pursuit for new knowledge, to experience a more authentic and enriched learning environment and to feel empowered as independent and self-directed learners. The acquisition of 20 iPads (with protective covers) and $400 worth of iTunes gift cards to purchase apps for our grade team would enrich our programming such that every student has the opportunity to develop and apply 21st century learning skills. Our proposal highlights the various avenues in which we plan to utilize this innovative technology.

Our R.J. Hawkey S.E.P focuses on a school-wide implementation of the Daily 5 program. By allowing access to iPads, students will experience their role as a self-directed learner by taking initiative and responsibility for the acquisition and application of their literacy skills. Students will be able to use the iPad for writing (i.e. creating stories on Scribble Press, Writing Prompts), reading and listening to stories written by peers or familiar authors (i.e., Tumblebooks, Garage Band), and programs that allow word work practice (i.e. Fry’s Sight Word application, Making Words). After assessing our students in the first month of school, it is evident that our group of grade threes will require more support in reading and writing. Additionally, an analysis of last year’s provincial achievement test scores demonstrates a great need for a strong literacy program to reduce the number of students who are achieving below the acceptable standard in both reading and writing. Through the use of literacy applications, students will have the chance to practice authentic literacy skills through an engaging and non-threatening play-based approach.

In each of our classes, we have identified students who are reluctant to participate in learning activities due to motivational issues, self-confidence concerns and lower skill levels. We have introduced the iPad as a technological tool to reduce these barriers to learning by having students record their voices while reading to self (highly motivating). An application like Educreation, is only one of many apps available that provide multiple learning pathways, as students are able to verbally record and visually represent ideas that would otherwise have gone unnoticed due to an inability to record thoughts concretely on paper.

One avenue for our AISI project focuses on assessment. At RJ Hawkey, we are working towards implementing a comprehensive assessment program where iPads could be utilized as a means to assess all cycles of learning (learning for, learning as and learning of). Students will create performance tasks which can be assessed during and after, by themselves, peers and teachers. Student Led Conferences will provide an opportunity for parents to witness and understand assessment results of their child’s progress through first hand experience of his/her digital work. Student success depends on the joint effort between teachers, parents and students.

Unique to R.J. Hawkey is our Learning in Engaging Networked Settings (L.E.N.S) program. As a grade three team, we have students involved in the Visual and Performing Arts LENS, Sports and Athletics LENS, Humanitarian and Environmental LENS and Scientific Inquiry and Innovation LENS. A few examples of how each of us would incorporate this technology into our LENS focus are listed below:

The Visual and Performing Arts LENS provides an expressive and academic environment where the creativity and individuality of each student is recognized and celebrated. Currently, we are in the beginning stages of launching a classroom blog that will allow students the opportunity to upload snapshots of personal artworks in order to share, comment and positively critique each other’s projects based on a set of questions related to our arts curriculum. By virtue of having iPads at the ready, students may work on this collaborative project at any time or any place. Applications such as MoMo Art Lab allow insight into the creative thought processes of well-known artists; giving inspiration to students for their own artistic creations.

Not only is it one of our AISI projects this year, inquiry learning is also a major component of our Scientific Inquiry and Innovation LENS. Students in this LENS are eager to explore their own questions about the world around them. Rather than have the answers given to them, students are encouraged to discuss, experiment, explore and conduct personal research. This process leads to increased critical thinking while providing a sense of ownership and adding greater connection and meaning in their learning. When searching for a response to their questions, the internet is their most common tool. Since most classrooms only have a computer or two, having iPads in the classroom would allow greater access. Additionally, for larger inquiry projects, iPads would be the ideal tool to present their findings using applications such as Prezi.

In the Sports and Athletics LENS classroom, students draw upon their interests in sports and athletics to understand and apply curricular outcomes across multiple subject areas. Using iPads, students will be able to research current issues in sports and discuss, write about, and debate different opinions and positions. Students will also use iPad applications to create unique projects such as their own personal trading cards or their own sports broadcast. Having regular access to TSN, Sportsnet, SI Kids Magazine, Comic Life, Garageband, CBC Sports, Coachpad, and countless other applications will allow students in the Sports and Athletics LENS class to engage in material that interests them and apply it in innovative and creative ways.

In the Humanitarian LENS, students discover the attributes of humanitarianism and engage in take action projects within our classroom and inspire our school community to become aware, motivated and involved. iPad technology allows students to engage in conversations with their peers, raising questions and finding answers collaboratively and instantaneously, through the use of infographic apps and photo walks. Students can quickly and creatively record their thoughts and ideas and ultimately post a performance task for sharing and viewing among teachers and peers.

Currently at our school, we have an iPad cart with 12 iPads to be shared among nearly 500 students. The demand for time with the iPads is already very high and during Daily 5 time, the demand increases even more. When classrooms do receive time with the iPads, it is difficult to have students work on individual tasks, as iPads must be shared between 2 or 3 students. Therefore, we plan to combine these iPads with the school’s existing iPad inventory to complete a class set for whole class use. Our students are highly motivated and excited by their opportunities to use technology and we are certain that greater access will further inspire them on their journey to becoming lifelong learners. Along with our students, we will experience the positive impact of this new technology and its applications through creative and authentic use. In doing so, we are fulfilling our final AISI goal to integrate technology into our practice in a meaningful way.

Detailed Budget

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Jordan Erison, Kaeli New, Carla Pierce and Naomi Yamashiro, (also writing on behalf of Alysha Boyd and Rachel Orsten) Grade 3 Team
R.J. Hawkey Elementary

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