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2011-2012 Rainbow Creek - iPads and Universal Design for learning

Imagine what a set of 6 Apple iPads would do in a grade two classroom! Students who need supports would be given a chance to use them anytime, students would be engaged and excited to learn, and students would be given a chance to discover what multiple means of representation really means in a school focused on Universal Design For Learning. What if a teacher were able to represent concepts visually on a SmartBoard, while simultaneously checking up on individual students, engaging in formative assessments with kids, and encouraging students to share their ideas as a class while walking around.  Technology can make this classroom a reality with the use of a Smart Slate. This device would be wirelessly connected to a Smartboard projector, and used as a means of visually communicating information with students, formatively assessing student learning, and allowing me the freedom to be a roaming presence in the room assisting students who need support while simultaneously guiding other students during whole class instruction.

 

The Apple tablet (the iPad) is a portable tablet device that can provide many different applications that are usable in a grade 2 classroom. Recently in our classroom we developed a story from a historical oral narrative that was about how we thought Chestermere Lake may have gotten it’s name. The students were very engaged in digital storytelling and it is something that I would like to pursue further. We used an application on the iPad called Storykit to do so. I know that if students were given an opportunity to learn about iPads and how to utilize the software they could use it as a tool for inquiry based learning. For example, they could create their own historical narrative based on an oral tradition from a different community or culture.

 

Although there is a school set of iPads available at Rainbow Creek, it would be beneficial to have a dedicated class set of 6 iPads because students would have these learning support devices accessible to them at all times and at any place- which fits the model of inclusive education that Rockyview is striving for. It supports learners without there being an adult involved, and once students are trained and ready to use the devices they would find success developing and sharing their ideas with the classroom and school community.

 

Students would use the technology to support them primarily with constructing narratives such as the historical narrative we undertook earlier this month. Students who struggle putting their ideas on paper would thrive using a different mode of representation, and for the first time they may feel like their idea is heard because they could finally express it with a voice recording system on the iPad.

 

Increased access to this technology means that all students will be given a chance to learn, and an equal chance to display their capabilities through the use of the supports that these 21st century devices provide. The student learning that would take place on the iPads would be shared online with parents so that they could see first hand what students have accomplished using such an innovative tool.

 

The Smart Slate is a remote device that can be used up to 10 metres away from the Smartboard to control what is on the Smartboard. I would take advantage of using the Smart Slate as a remote system for the Smartboard in my classroom. Student learning would benefit greatly if I were able to walk around and have students share their ideas on a portable Smartboard wirelessly connected to a main display. This would engage students as active participants in the classroom and give me an opportunity to formatively assess students as while learning a new idea or learning objective.

 

These devices promote innovation and independence in the classroom. Students would be developing technological competencies and develop as self-directed learners because they would be comfortable, aware, and excited about the supports and resources that are available in the classroom. Furthermore, increased accessibility to technology will facilitate students’ ability to communicate ideas. This project supports the three year education plan by meeting learners’ individual needs through 21st century instructional practices employed in the classroom. It also provides new opportunity for students to be engaged in whole class or small group discussion through the Smart Slate tool promoting student engagement and supporting expression of ideas. Our school education plan is currently focusing on Universal Design for Learning, and the iPad specifically would be a great tool for students to express their ideas in different ways and forms.

 

Breakdown of Cost

The cost of 6 iPad 2’s:

Cost is $519.00 per iPad

Total cost would be $3114.00 without GST, with the total cost at $3269.70 with GST

The cost of the Smart Slate:

The cost of one Smart Slate with a wireless Bluetooth device to connect to the Smartboard and projector (according to Sharp Electronics in Calgary- spoke with representative Dennis Fenton) is approximately $475 plus GST, which would be $498.75

With the total being:

$3768.45

If you have any questions regarding this proposal please email me at cschubert.   Thank-you for your time, and I hope that this class of grade 2 students will be given an opportunity to excel in the 21st century with the tools necessary to go ahead.

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