Thursday, February 28, 2013

iPads and Science - A Chronicled Experiment

We’ve got a teacher here at Lewis and Clark Middle School, Mr. Benson that has changed the face of his classroom.  He has three sessions of science and the current topic is Astronomy.  Mr. Benson is working on conducting systematic research for his graduate work.  The hope is that his experiment will prove that using ipads to teach science will increase test scores, as well as student engagement.  

You might be thinking that his experiment is heavy on some really cool apps.  But in fact, what Mr. Benson has done is create an environment that allows students to take ownership of their learning through the use of this great device and specific tools.  He did use some great apps like NASA, Moon, 3D Sun and so forth but he also used some basic apps like Google Drive, Pages, Audio Notes, Socrative, and Popplet Lite.  He had days without ipads and days with ipads and then compared student engagement and achievement.  His results are promising for those of you searching for “concrete data” in the field of ipads in education.

The content apps allowed the students to research information in a very structured construct as compared to reading Google search results.  The workflow apps like Google Drive and Audionotes provided the students a place to create, share, and collaborate.  He did an excellent job of giving the students choice when it came time to create  products to share with the class on a particular topic like meteors.  I love going into his classroom and seeing all the kids working away silently and sometimes collaborative on their ipads.  It is so exciting to see these kids taking the responsibility of learning seriously with a tool that truly empowers them.  These five weeks with the ipads have been nothing but extraordinary for Mr. Benson and his teaching and for his students engagement and success.  His data is going to tell a very positive story and I can’t wait to see it in published format.  I will be sure to tweet it out as soon as I have it!  

Written By, Jennifer Krzystowczyk
@jennykbps


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