Saturday, October 29, 2011

Digital Devices Empower Learners

video

As my colleague, Jenny (@jennykbps)  pulled iPads out of the bag, the 4th grade students were breathless and wide eyed, as if superman himself had appeared in the classroom. Excitement filled the air and everyone was waiting on the edge of their seats, hands in the air, in eager anticipation of what they were about to learn.  

Delighted, the students enthusiastically joined us at our technology center where they were given an iPad 2, iPod Touch, or a DS, and were engaged immediately on math facts by the apps, videos, and games on the devices.  They worked intently for an hour on mastering multiplication facts, trying hard to beat their time, set a high score, or move to the next level.  Each student was working at his/her own level and motivated to learn.  

The hour long math class melted away quickly and before long we needed to pack up.  The kids said the following:
“Do we have to go to lunch?”

“Just a minute, I need to finish this level.”  

“I almost have a new high score.”

“When are you coming back?”

“Math was fun!”

“I did more problems than ever!”

“I liked the video, it helped me remember.”

We knew putting the iPads, iPods, and DS’s in their hands would make a difference, but we did not expect it to be transformational.  Not only were we able to individualize the instruction for each child, every student was 100% on task the entire time, had fun, did more problems, and did not want to stop working.  Every student was challenged at their level and advanced at their own pace.   

Another interesting finding at this school where many are free and reduced lunch, was that most students have access to technology outside of school, but use the devices for entertainment, not learning.
“I have a DS at home, but I just play games on it,” one 4th grader said.  “I am asking for Math Blaster for my birthday.”
“My mom has a phone that has apps,” said another student. “I am going to ask her to get Math Bingo for me.”

According to Mary Beth Hertz (@mbteach) , “The digital divide is no longer an issue of access. Instead, there is a widening gap between those who use technology to be entertained and those who are empowered by it.” http://www.edutopia.org/blog/digital-divide-technology-internet-access-mary-beth-hertz

Our next step is to collect some baseline data and work with this same group of students over the next six weeks and see how learning with iPads, iPods, and DS’s impacts test scores.    

Check back later for more about our pilot with these 4th graders.

Apps Used: Math Bingo, Bubble Math, Math Samuri, My Math App, Flash Racer, Math, Sum Stacker
DS Games: Math Blaster, Learn Math
Videos:
1. Multiply by 9’s - http://www.teachertube.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=183949&title=9s_times_table_multiplication&vpkey=

2.  3, 6, 9, - http://www.teachertube.com/viewVideo.php?video_id=167261&title=Multiplying_3_s__6_s___amp__9_s&vpkey=
-Ann Feldmann

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