Educators coming to Auburn to see iPads in classrooms

AUBURN — At 8:45 a.m. Wednesday, Sherwood Heights Elementary School kindergarten teacher Susan Lemeshow greeted her students as visitors watched.

Amber Waterman/Sun Journal

Carol Gallagher, a kindergarten teacher at Riverton School in Portland, visits a kindergarten class at Sherwood Heights Elementary School in Auburn on Wednesday to see how pupils use iPads. Riverton School plans to give iPads to each K-2 student in March or April.

The daily announcement in Sherwood Heights Elementary School Susan Lemeshow's kindergarten class Wednesday announced visitors would watch the Auburn students use iPads.

“Good morning, Emily. You may go to your iPad,” Lemeshow said. “Good morning, Jayden. You may go to your iPad.”

After her class of 19 retrieved their iPads, they got to work.

Since Auburn introduced iPads to kindergarten students in September, city schools have hosted regular visits from educators throughout Maine, other states, and even a few from the countries of Denmark and Sweden.

The guests Wednesday were teachers from Portland's Riverton and Reiche elementary schools.

The guest teachers watched as Jayden Dudevoir, 6, counted ducks that climbed and slid on his screen in an interactive math lesson. When Jayden counted correctly, the iPad reacted with applause.

The guest teachers watched as Ella Donovan, 6, listened to a story read aloud on her iPad. Pictures and words showed on the screen, each word highlighted as it was read aloud. Ella followed along, turning pages by touching a black button.

Visitors in the room didn't seem to distract the kindergartners, who were focused on their lessons.

Auburn tours of students using iPads are given about once a week, said Carol Miller, Auburn schools' technology coach for prekindergarten through sixth grade.

“We steadily have people ask if they can come and see what we're doing,” said Mike Muir, Multiple Pathways leader for Auburn schools.

Miller said Auburn receives “thanks and thanks” from visiting educators, but the visits help Auburn. “I learn something every time,” she said.

Carol Gallagher, a Riverton kindergarten teacher, said her school plans to give iPads to all kindergarten through grade 2 students in April. Another Portland school will give iPads to grades 3-5, then Portland schools will compare how the two groups did. “Hopefully, someday, all students will have them,” Gallagher said.

After watching Sherwood Heights students work on iPads, Riverton teacher Sue Chevalier said she liked what she saw.

Students were “actively engaged and seem to know how to use the iPads,” she said. Pupils seemed to be getting corrective feedback, allowing them to be self-sufficient, she said. “And everyone looks like they're having fun.”

bwashuk@sunjournal.com

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Comments

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Eye and hand co-ordination

Eye and hand co-ordination might be stunning, but their brains will probably be dormant.

JOHN PAINTER's picture

This is a good illustration

This is a good illustration of what the iPad can help teachers and parents with, making the necessary rote memorization of things like core mathematics a more self-directed and dynamic learning process for children. Hopefully the schools do not stop there and encourage the students, for example to become involved in activities like MIT's great SCRATCH project http://scratch.mit.edu/ to encourage the creativity, collaboration, and logic important for future success in STEM education. There are some very young children using SCRATCH who have created some impressive software programs, this goes a long way in encouraging future engineers, researchers, etc.

JOHN PAINTER's picture

This is a good illustration

This is a good illustration of what the iPad can help teachers and parents with, making the necessary rote memorization of things like core mathematics a more self-directed and dynamic learning process for children. Hopefully the schools do not stop there and encourage the students, for example to become involved in activities like MIT's great SCRATCH project http://scratch.mit.edu/ to encourage the creativity, collaboration, and logic important for future success in STEM education. There are some very young children using SCRATCH who have created some impressive software programs, this goes a long way in encouraging future engineers, researchers, etc.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

All well and good, but will

All well and good, but will any of them be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide with a pencil in hand and paper in front of them WITHOUT the IPad? Probably not, is my guess.

JOHN PAINTER's picture

What this study showed was

What this study showed was the child was able to perform the math calculation in her head and choose the correct answer on the iPad. Paper and pencil not required.

That computers (iPads are just very portable ones), can improve children's mathematics learning is nothing new http://www.nytimes.com/1998/09/30/us/computers-help-math-learning-study-... The real issue is how well the iPad might be able to help children move beyond basic mathematics to more complex math and logic concepts essential in a STEM education system, for example expanding the "classroom" into age appropriate places where those STEM skills are used, my 9 year old is certainly interested in how his iPod Touch actually works - he might benefit from a school experience where some of his day is paired with a technician at National Semi Conductor using the math he is learning in semiconductor design. Then again there are days when he just likes to climb trees, it's all good.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Thank you for your insight.

Thank you for your insight.

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