By Kirsten Petersen
After a successful first year of a pilot program that put iPads in the hands of 280 students and teachers at Elkridge Landing Middle School last year, all students and staff at the school will receive iPads this fall.
The two-year pilot program, which began last November, tested whether iPads could improve classroom learning and instruction with 220 seventh graders and 60 teachers at the middle school.
The program was deemed such a success by administrators that iPads will be given to all students and teachers in the school.
Gina Cash, the principal of Elkridge Landing, told Parent Teacher Connection, a Howard County Public Schools television program, that the school was chosen for the pilot program because it represented the economic diversity of the county.
She added that seventh graders were selected because their curriculum encourages them to analyze, synthesize and produce, skills that the iPads allows students to practice.
Some of the apps that have been employed in the classroom include News in Slow Spanish apps, which provide a broadcast recording and transcript of a Spanish news report, and Puppet Pals, which allows students to record themselves speaking and watch animated characters recite their conversations, helping them improve grammar and pronunciation.
To support teachers as they use the iPad in their classrooms, the school offers “APPY Hour” training sessions. During one APPY Hour, teachers visited other classrooms to observe how students were integrating the iPad apps with assignments.
Linda Scrivener, a technology support teacher at the school, told Parent Teacher Connection that 95 percent of the students take their iPads home after school, but added that this also places a responsibility on both the students and the parents to take care of the technology.To learn more about the pilot program and hear testimonials from students and staff, watch this video from Parent Teacher Connection.