Students at District School Board Ontario North East are reporting that they are happy using iPads, and that the devices have had a positive impact on learning.
The Board unveiled its 1:1 iPad initiative in the Fall of 2015, with the distribution of 2,600 iPads to students in Grades 7 through 10. This school year, the Board is enhancing the project, phasing in personal iPads in Grades 5 and 6. Schools will now have 1:1 iPads for all students in Grades 5-11. IPads are also being placed at a 2:1 ratio in Grades 3 and 4.
In June, the Board surveyed Grade 7 through 10 students and their families, to collect feedback on how well the devices are working both in and out of the classroom. Just under 1,000 student responses were received, along with about 100 responses from families. The results have provided insight into how this technology is transforming teaching and learning in classrooms throughout the Board.
"The student survey definitely tells us that things are changing for our students as they develop the skills required for the 21st century, like collaboration, problem solving, and innovation/creativity," says Chad Mowbray, the Board’s Vice-Principal of Curriculum, Innovation and Technology.
Results show that over 90-percent of students reported they use the iPad daily/weekly to support their learning. 63.6-percent of students agree that the iPad provides them with different opportunities for how they learn and how they show what they have learned. 58-percent of students agree that they are more likely to revise and edit their work when using the iPad versus when using paper and pencil. As well, 53-percent of the students agree they are more proud of the work they create when using the iPad.
"With technology-enabled learning, we are excelling at personalizing learning to better meet students’ needs," adds Mowbray. "Students can access learning material in a variety of ways, whether it is text, images, audio, or video. They can then select how best to show their learning by choosing from a variety of applications to create rich multimedia projects. While they still demonstrate their learning with some written projects, they can now combine video, audio, and images, which add a layer of complexity and creativity not possible without the technology."
The survey has also revealed to the Board some areas of the iPad initiative that need improvement. Students are not regularly using the technology to provide feedback on products and ideas -- an important skill in the 21st century workplace. The Board will be supporting teachers in showing students how to do this. As well, teachers will work on better communication with parents, helping them to become more involved in their child’s learning.
Mowbray says the Board hopes to issue a survey to the same group of students and parents again this year, to see if any improvements have been made. A teacher survey is also planned, as well as a survey for Grade 3 to 6 students and their families.
"We have learned a great deal from our students, and are using their feedback to make some changes for the upcoming year," says Linda Knight, the Board’s Director of Education. "Through technology, we have a great tool for gathering student voice to inform our decisions."
"We are excited about moving forward to include more students in our 1:1 iPad initiative this year," adds Doug Shearer, Chair of the Board of Trustees. "It is hoped that this increased technology and student engagement will lead to a higher success rate for all of our students."
To read the full media release:
Ipad Survey Yields Encouraging Results - September 15, 2016.pdf
PHOTO: Chad Mowbray (Vice-Principal of Curriculum, Innovation and Technology) with students at R. Ross Beattie Senior Public School