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2011-2012 Westbrook School - iPads supporting Universal Design for Learning

Objective:

Our small rural school is looking to implement adaptive technology that will encourage our reluctant and struggling students as well as enhance the learning pathways for all learners in our multi-level split-grade school.  Our staff is excited to use the iPad interactive technology that supports differentiated learning in the classroom by increasing student engagement, learning and multiple ways of demonstrating knowledge and skills.  Our School Education Plan supports the use of this technology as we grow in 21st century skills and innovation.

Technology and Learning and the Reasons Behind our Request:

Ever since our small community of teachers received the Apple Mac computers we have been on board to learn as much as we can about the power of that particular technology.  The Mac has encouraged our staff to learn and play with its capabilities such as iphoto and imovie.  In the last few years’ teacher projects included igraphic novels, and multi-media presentations that were mind blowing!  Our teachers have gone on to try many other innovative technologies in the classroom such as the interactive capabilities of SMARTboard technology.  Our junior high math teacher loves the engagement and interaction of her students with this type of technology in the classroom.  Social Studies classes are a lot more fun and lively with the use of the SMARTboard clickers and jeopardy game!  Our staff has been encouraged by the technology we have seen and used so far.  But we wonder, what are the other possibilities we have yet to try to better our classroom environments, further student engagement and enhance multiple learning opportunities for our students?

A Necessary 21st Century Learning Opportunity at Westbrook:

Westbrook’s AISI focus is on differentiated instruction in the Classroom. Specifically we are focused on how our unique rural split-grade school meets the needs of every learner.  This is an essential tool for every learner and supports our plan for every student to have every opportunity to be able to show their learning in a multitude of ways.

Our teachers are confident users of the Mac technology and are developing more skills with SMARTboard technology as all classrooms are now equipped with it.  It is hard to get confident with technology unless you have it.  The iPad would be another opportunity for our staff to show their 21st century skills and support our AISI goals and the Rocky View Divisional plan for multiple pathways for learning with our students.

Westbrook School is a very small rural school with a limited budget.  We are at a disadvantage with building up our learning resources and learning tools that can often impact our students.  With increased technology available, students are able to have many of the same learning opportunities as in many other schools.

The Mac Carts are in such high demand in our school, at times, teachers are not able to access them when they need too.   As every teacher and student has embraced this technology, we are looking for other modes of learning devices to support student engagement and offer more pathways to show student learning.

Our grade eight students will be advancing to high school next year.  We want these students to be ready for the high school environment of one-on-one learning, and the many other technological opportunities they will see.  By providing them the skills of using the iPad along with other technology we are putting our students at a learning advantage.

Some of our staff are already using and familiar with this technology.  One of our staff will be attending a COfP on Best Practices using an iPad.  With support, passion, and excitement to become involved in this project, we are fully prepared to learn, achieve and give our students more opportunities at becoming 21st century learners.

Areas of the iPad Focus in our school:

We are seeking a set of 20 iPads for use as adaptive technology for students in the following four main areas:

For our struggling readers and writers the iPad provides countless opportunities, or apps that open up multiple ways of learning and demonstrating their knowledge.  Our resource teacher wants to be able to have more pathways for the diverse educational needs in those classrooms.

Our FSL students really come from varying levels of language abilities.  The language apps provide not only support to language development, but easy access to understanding culture, listening to a specific pronunciation, and games that encourage language development.

Our Junior High Language Arts teacher is looking for new and innovative ways to foster a love of reading and enhance the creative writing process in her split-grade and multi-leveled classroom.  The iPad contains a multitude of apps so that a teacher can go from a grade five level reader and program to a grade eight student.  The activities for both are stored on the one device.

Our Math teachers are looking for other interactive learning materials to support their program in their multi-level classrooms.  The math apps would support such learning and provide students with self-directed and innovative learning as part of the learning environment.

Costs

20 iPads

Cost per one iPad2 unit is $549  plus GST

Total Cost (20 X 549)+5% =  $11, 529

We will have a small budget set aside for the iPads for educational apps needed for the various student groups.  Many of the educational apps are inexpensive or free.  The iPad2 comes with a warranty from Apple Computers.

 

Proposal Outcomes and Implications

If successful, our entire school would truly become more advanced in our goal of supporting our 21st century students in meeting their needs.  This project will see staff and students working with this new technology in multiple classrooms and in multiple ways which we believe will increase student engagement and ultimately student learning in multiple pathways.  Our research aim is to attain feedback from staff and students that can be compiled and shared among educators, particularly those in split-levels and small school environments.  We would be more than willing to share our findings with other schools in Rocky View and in other school districts. We would also like to present our findings to our Westbrook parent council, Board of Trustees and other members of the community to enhance their understanding and support of such learning tools.  We believe that every school should have the capability and innovation to make education a success for every type of student, regardless of size or grade configurations. 

 

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