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