Monday, January 4, 2016

Minnetonka Elementary School Fifth Graders Bring Home iPads

iPad Parent Showcase 2 min. video
Thanks Andrea Hoffmann for some of the video and
Jake @Capture Video for the editing!
Back in September when school began, fifth graders in Minnetonka Schools were each given their own iPad for the first time as part of our 1:1 program for 6,250 grade 5-12 students. Over the past four months, these fifth grade students and their teachers have been integrating their iPads into their learning, using it as a tool to enhance instruction. They quickly mastered the apps and use their iPads to create projects, show others what they know, as well as document their learning (see past posts on Book Creators in Minnetonka Schools and Students Explain Everything and Increase Test Scores). Prior to the start of school, fifth grade teachers spent a half day in training. They also have had additional staff development this fall when they met with colleagues and teacher instructional technology coaches for three hours about the implementation of a 1:1 device for learning. They will have two more staff development meetings yet this school year to continue this learning.

Grade 5 students show their parents how they use iPads
Not long after students received their iPads, questions began about when the students could start bringing them home. Teachers, students, and parents wanted to be able to continue and extend learning with the iPad. (Grade 6-12 secondary students in our 1:1 program bring their iPads home daily, but our fifth grade students began the year keeping their devices at school. Students in pre-K through grade four have access to iPads on carts to use during the school day, but not a dedicated 1:1 device.) So after meeting with staff at one of the elementary schools eager and ready to have students bring iPads home, we decided to have an iPad Parent Showcase (Watch a 2 minute video overview) to show parents how their children were using their iPads in school and the types of things that kids would do with an iPad once they brought it home. A date was set and invitations were emailed home from the classroom teachers.

Tic-Tac-Toe Activity Sheet
A few weeks later, both Deephaven and Groveland Elementary Schools held their iPad Parent Showcases. Parents were invited to school for an hour to see things firsthand. They sat with their child in her/his classroom and saw how iPads were being used. Fifth grade teacher Karl Boberg created an iPad Tic-Tac-Toe activity (pictured) which students downloaded from Schoology and opened in Notability. They used digital ink to cross off each square as they completed it while their parents watched and learned how they used the iPad in school. Activities included showing their parents Book Creator, Explain Everything, Notability, Schoology, eBooks, math activities, and more. After visiting the classrooms, parents met with the principal and media specialist in the media center to hear more about the take home program, get tips for management of the device at home, and ask questions. All of our 1:1 iPads are filtered on and off campus. We offer optional insurance for families that covers accidental damage.

Starting on December 21, fifth grade students at Groveland Elementary began bringing their iPads home. Today, fifth graders at both Deephaven and Scenic Heights Elementary Schools bring their iPads home. Minnewashta Elementary School has scheduled its iPad Parent Showcase for February 5, and students at the other two elementary schools are selecting dates. We purposely wanted to let this decision and timeframe be set by each school as they are ready to do so. Over the past four years, the iPad has proven to be an invaluable tool to enhance learning in our 1:1 program in grades 6-12. It will be exciting to see this same growth as grade five students take home their device.

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