The iPad Initiative

Saint Stephen’s implemented its 1-to-1 iPad initiative in 2013 for students in grades 6-12. It was expanded to include all students in 2016. Excellence in education requires that technology be seamlessly integrated throughout the academic program, and increasing access is essential. The iPad is one of the key learning tools for 21st century students. Individual use of iPads is a way to empower them to maximize their potential and prepare them for college and the workplace.

Technology immersion does not diminish the vital role of the teacher. To the contrary, it transforms the teacher from a director of learning to a facilitator of learning. Effective teaching and learning with iPads integrates technology into the curriculum anytime, anyplace. It provides students with access to organizational and productivity tools, supplemental resources specific to their classes, and textbooks in digital format. The iPad is a very powerful tool for learning, and at Saint Stephen’s, it serves to enhance the best educational practices that are already in place.

EDUCATIONAL IMPACT

What is the overall reason for implementing a 1-to-1 iPad initiative?
We want our students to have a 21st century educational experience. An iPad learning environment best supports current models of teaching and learning.

Is there research supporting the implementation of a 1-to-1 iPad program?
Conclusions drawn from available research indicates that the experience provides many positive outcomes. Among those most mentioned are:

  • Improved writing skills and depth of research

  • Increased student interest and ownership of the learning process

  • Reductions in student behavior problems and improved morale

  • Reductions in lecture-based instruction; increase in project-based activities

What’s the main benefit of a 1-to-1 iPad program to the students and teachers?
The iPad makes anytime, anywhere access to valuable information a reality. No longer does accessing the power of a computer lab have to be a planned event. It is there when needed; when it can have the greatest impact on instruction.

Does the iPad take the place of the textbook?
It will replace many of our current textbook choices and we can envision more and more being replaced as time goes on. There is no doubt that this is a future trend, and with a 1-to-1 iPad learning program we will be well positioned to take advantage of cost savings, flexibility, ability to customize, and more.

How does the 1-to-1 iPad initiative meet Saint Stephen’s curricular goals?
We are currently in the process of updating and realigning our curriculum with a particular emphasis on five 21st century learning goals. The iPad initiative helps enhance our development in each of these areas:

Critical Thinking:
The device supports learning in the way student’s think – by putting a world of easily searchable information at their fingertips. Students direct their own learning with the teacher acting as facilitator and guide. They have more ownership of their learning. Better student engagement, coupled with interactive web tools, increases the opportunity for deep inquiry based learning experiences.

Communication:
Every student has an email that teachers can access. Teachers send email reminders to students, teacher websites can be set up with RRS feeds and QR codes can be attached to handouts/activities. This increases communication while decreasing the need to consume resources (paper, time, etc.).

Collaboration:
Students are always connected to each other. Cloud-based applications eliminate the “He’s not here and has all our work” disruptions. Teachers have increased ability to monitor collaboration, teach collaboration skills, and give the academic work of investigating, synthesizing, and creating to the students.

Creativity:
“We can’t because we don’t have (the resources, time, and interest)” as an excuse is eliminated. Teachers have unlimited ways of integrating content, skills, and assessment into meaningful and engaging experiences. Students have unlimited options in demonstrating their understanding and abilities. Increased connectivity allows for greater flexibility in bringing teams of people together to solve problems.

Information & Media Literacy (digital literacy):
Evaluation of sources, perspectives, and purpose become the focus of conversations as new applications and uses are introduced. We not only want to educate students using the tools of the 21st century, but also teach them how to successfully evaluate and fully utilize those tools.

With iPads, the classroom is always at the fingertips of students and teachers with thousands of educational apps available to download. Students can track their assignments, take notes, and study for finals. Teachers can give lessons, monitor progress, and stay organized.

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