Burr Elementary – Studying the BP Oil Spill using iPads
Burr Elementary School, grades 3 – 5, began using their tablets for a project, called “Oil and Water Don’t Mix: Technology‐based solutions for a better world,” a cross‐curricular project covering all subject areas: Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Sciences with a specific focus on Environmental Studies.
Using their tablet devices, students began by researching articles, photos, videos, news clips, blogs, etc., to build an understanding of the BP Gulf Oil Spill. Students used various Apps for research such as: National Geographic World Atlas HD to view images of the areas affected by the oil spill; WeatherBug to view how weather has contributed to spreading the oil; Sound Paper to take notes and record information/ideas while researching the oil spill. Throughout the process, students shared information with each other in real‐time using a chat room app that allows groups of students to communicate ideas and ask questions without disrupting other groups. Students and teachers (across classrooms and grades) will have the ability to share documents, photos, videos, etc. using Dropbox, a Web‐based app that serves as a storage space accessible by anyone linked to the school’s iPad network.
Students will continue their study by researching the overall history and scientific information and effects of oil and gas in various geographical regions, with the BP Oil Spill serving as a springboard to further study. In addition to previously mentioned apps, students may use the following: National Geographic World Atlas to explore the locations of oil wells in the U.S.; The Elements: A Visual Exploration to explore the properties of oil and how they affect the planet. Students will view Web‐based images of how oil affects animals, plants, and humans and explore general oil processes.
Goudy Elementary – iPad and Environmental Sciences
The students at Goudy elementary school used their iPads for field observations, research, planning and design on a project to transform their underutilized school garden into a thriving and sustainable garden. Taking advantage of the mobility of the iPad, students took their devices on field observations of two neighborhood gardens. Students used the application Dragon Dication to transform their recorded spoken observations into text, the Dundry Notes app to take notes and sketch their visual observations, and an app called Voice Memo to record oral notes and conducted interviews. Further, students researched the pH levels in the soil, and used the iPad Numbers application to highlight the variations using bar charts and graphs. To bring the project to a close the students, students embedded the graphs used in the Numbers app into their final slides using the Keynote for the iPad.
School of the Arts – iPad Roller Coaster Design
The School of the Arts 10th grade physics class used the iPads for a project on understanding the physics behind designing roller coasters, as well as understanding the relationship between technology and society. Before beginning the project students were slowly introduced to the iPads basic functionality, proper handle, and use. Once students became comfortable with using the iPads, the class explored the basic laws of physics through internet research and the app Newton’s Cradle. To begin their work on roller coasters, students used iPads, with multiple roller coaster tutorials, to research the physics and engineering of how roller coasters are designed and built. Using the app Coaster Physics, groups of students began their roller coaster design and modeled them using live simulation. This project introduced students to problem-solving situations similar to the design process engineers encounter in this field. After viewing their simulated roller coaster design, students were able to see if the roller coaster actually worked by watching if their roller coaster stayed on its tracks at the appropriate speed. If the simulation showed errors the students then went back and corrected these mistakes in their design. Each activity surrounding the iPad was evaluated with an end of the class quiz using Google docs on the iPad to generate instant feedback and gauge comprehension.
Nettlehorst Elementary – iPads in Special Education
Special education students using iPads at Nettlehorst elementary school are 5th – 8th grade non-verbal students with a severe cognitive handicap. The iPad is leveraged to deliver an effective mode of communication for the students, thus opening up greater access to the school and community. Students were first introduced to the iPad using basic cause and effect applications such as Toddler Teaser and Peakaboo Barn in order to become familiar with the touch and feel of the iPad. Once students became familiar with touching the iPad screen, the class began using them innovatively as a communication device.
Taking advantage of the mobility of the iPad and using the app iConverse, the class went out to the local grocery store and put the new communication devices into practice. With iConverse, students were able to obtain a visual grocery list for them to see what they are supposed to buy and help find what they are looking for on the shelves. Seeing a full color visual of the item on the iPad as well as hearing the audio reinforcement, helps students to better understand what is expected of them. Further, students are able to communicate their wants and needs to the employees at the store. Through the iConverse app, students can say hello and ask how much something costs. Students in this class, displayed much more confidence when going out to the community and have more confidence in initiating communication with the employees. They also have more confidence in initiating communication with the employees. The special education teacher at Nettelhorst also noted a decrease in behavior problems while at the store, due to the high level of student engagement that the tablet provokes.