Thursday, March 21, 2013

Professional Learning via the iProject

I recently spent some time with the other two teachers participating in the project to talk about our thoughts/feelings about the use of the iPad with our students. The discussion was a valuable one as it provided us with an opportunity to talk about our experiences thus far and learn from one another.

All of us see the technology leading our students to success. The device is playing a key role in keeping the students in line with what the class is working on with the added bonus of making things more 'social' for them. From our perspective, the use of the device seems to lead to instant differentiation that is meeting the needs of our students. The iPad is aligned with the IEP and it is as dynamic as the IEP - apps are often added and deleted based on the needs of the student.

There is a greater sense of team work with the Educational Assistants due to the constant communication around student learning. There is also a heightened awareness around technological literacy due to the manipulation of apps in order to meet the needs of the students. Each of us noted that the EA's that work with us are effective and efficient in directing their student to apps based on what the teacher is doing. It is as though we are all speaking the same language because the curriculum (IEP) is connected to the apps that the students are using to learn and demonstrate their learning.

Everyone involved (Students, EA's, Teachers) seem to have a heightened sense of responsibility and are taking great pride in the work that is happening with this project. The teachers spoke about the concept of equity and that the technology is providing a great example that fairness is not the same as providing students with what they truly need to learn and be successful. For the most part, the other students in the classroom understand what it means to be equitable and the novelty of the device in the room is no longer an issue - it is recognized as an essential learning tool for the student that uses it.

The student's participating in the iProject are not the only ones that are benefiting from this unique experience. The staff that are working directly with the students are growing professionally and the hope is that there will be ripple effects with our colleagues who are peripheral to this project. As the iProject approaches the end of its formal timeline we plan to meet again in order to fully consolidate our learning and celebrate our successes.