With the recent arrival of iPads at Clarke Community Elementary School, all students have increased opportunities to use technology as a learning tool in mastering the objectives of the curriculum.
The school’s teachers are busy finding and sharing new ways to use technology to teach skills once taught only with paper and pencil. Both students and teachers are using this new opportunity for learning in education.
In the Learning Enrichment and Acceleration Program (LEAP) at the elementary school, students in kindergarten through sixth grade use various types of technology to help them use higher-order thinking skills to create products that illustrate what they have learned.
Third-graders in the LEAP program have recently mastered creative story writing using an online program called www.storyjumper.com. Students can read the beginning of a story and finish the story by creatively adding their own words and pictures.
Fifth-graders learn to compare and contrast similar topics and present their findings using a Google presentation, which is similar to a slideshow. Students use a variety of sources of information to find facts and then choose three subtopics to consider, presenting their findings on their Google presentation.
They can add pictures and transitions to make their presentations appealing. The finished presentation can be projected on a screen for large groups to view.
Clarke’s focus for educators is how to make use of the technology to meet curricular goals. Clarke does not view the technology as an end in itself, but rather as a means to an end.
Clarke doesn’t teach its units of study using only worksheets and pencils and then let those students who are done “practice technology”. Rather, staff teaches its units of study letting all students use technology tools to learn as they progress through the curriculum.