New Trier expanding iPad use in classrooms
Jeff Bailey (left), technology project specialist at New Trier High School, and director of technology Chris Johnson work on their iPads at the school August 20. The high school will be embarking on a new iPad initiative this fall and Johnson was one of t
Updated: September 24, 2012 7:31AM
After hearing the suggestions of students and staff about incorporating more mobile devices in the classrooms select students at New Trier High School will be receiving iPads for interactive classroom use.
Last year’s pilot program of using the iPads in select special eduction and science classes proved largely successful and the district was ready to expand on it for this year.
“We received twice as many proposals from teachers than we could accept,” said Chris Johnson, the school’s technology director. “Teachers spent spring and summer developing courses. Over summer we notified the students who enrolled in these classes and they received their training.”
The total project, including purchasing the iPads, will cost $375,000 this year. Families could buy or borrow an iPad from the district or use their own. Around 600 students taking various anatomy, sociology, French, English and history classes are being allowed to use the devices.
“One of the interesting things we noticed last year was the students with iPads would bring it to their other classes and figure out ways to help themselves in that class without assistance from a teacher,” Johnson said. “It really puts the technology in the hands of the students. They can solve real-world problems in their lives and in the classroom.”
Johnson had both teachers and students learning how to use the equipment before the school year starts so they “don’t have to take class time” learning all the applications. Each device was hooked up to the New Trier network and they were shown the various functions each device carries.
New Trier physics teacher Ryan Dunn was one of the lucky teachers to have his proposal accepted. He was amazed at everything the iPads can bring to his classroom and has been attending technology conferences since last year.
“One thing we do is shoot video of something happening, like a ball flying through the air,” Dunn said. “With the iPad the camera is right there. Students can shoot the action, open the video, write a lab report and submit it. It’s all in one package and it’s kind of neat.”
School officials would not commit to adding more iPads next year, but Johnson says all the positive feedback he’s received from students and staff would help any future decision to expand the program.
“It’s been just a positive experience so far,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be great to see what happens this year.” ~.