South Callaway teachers see benefit of iPads in classrooms

— South Callaway R-II teachers spent Friday at iPadapalooza, but it was not all the fun and games the name implies.

According to Director of Curriculum Mary Van Orden, the event actually was a professional development day focused on teacher collaboration aimed at incorporating the district’s new iPads — each student has one — into the classroom.

With breakout sessions like Using the iPad — Basics and Beyond, Learning Systems and App Reviews and Advanced App Share and Rebuild a Lesson Plan, and panel discussions within each building, teachers spent the day sharing what has and has not worked in their own classrooms and learning new ways to incorporate the iPads in their lessons.

After a full day of iPad-centered professional development, several fourth- and seventh-grade teachers who participated in the iPad pilot program last spring sat down again to discuss the different ways the devices have benefited their classrooms.

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Seventh grade reading and writing teacher Sarah Zolinskisaid the iPads have also enabled her to record instructions for lessons and assignments and send them to students adjusted to their specific needs without calling attention to the fact some are further along or need more help.

“In some ways it makes (the students) less aware of the differentiation,” Zolinski said.

Fourth grade teacher Kathrynn Zimmerman said having the iPads has allowed students the opportunity to be more creative with their assignments.

“They can do PowerPoint assignments, video assignments,” Zimmerman said.

Hecktor interjected that students are “only limited by what apps are out there.”

“There are a lot more options and choices and flexibility,” he said. “Now your classroom effectively is a computer lab. The instant access to a world of information.”

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