Based on the information provided by our EA's, it appears that our participating students have benefited from the use of the iPad. The "right" apps have benefited our students academically, specifically in Literacy and Numeracy. The use of the device seems to excite the students about their learning, engages them, and leaves them with good feelings. The students seem to be more confident, independent, and responsible. Aside from a positive learning experience, it appears as though the device allows for inclusion, co-operative learning, differentiation, and collaboration.
Finding the "right" app is like finding the gold at the end of the rainbow. When we find one that works well we feel exhilaration and the students are advantaged. When we experience one that does nothing for our students we are left feeling frustrated. Finding good apps is no small task (as I have blogged about). It continues to be a major 'next step' as the project moves forward into the second term of this school year. Another obstacle seems to be the lack of wireless Internet where the students are primarily situated on school property. The EA's and I have talked about this issue several times. Our school has wireless 'hot spots' but our EA's struggle with the use of a specific app versus the concept of inclusion. They are aware of the need to have their students with their peer group and wish that our entire school site was a 'hot spot'.
I can't say enough about the EA's that work with our three students. They directly impact their student academically and emotionally each day on top of the back and forth communication with their classroom teacher and myself. They are fantastic and necessary to this project. Their hard work and engagement is necessary for this project to benefit the students and I thank them for that and will continue to support them as best as I can as we move forward.