Chappelow Raves about iPads
Written by Julie Garbus
Chappelow K-8, a District 6 arts magnet school, values innovative approaches to learning. As their vision statement puts it, Chappelow strives to “provide creative experiences and opportunities for our school community.” Chappelow teachers are a creative group, and they’re not wary of trying new things. “Overall, our building is a high technology building,” Sandy Cosner, Chappelow’s principal, said. “iPads are not intimidating for our staff.T eachers LOVE them.” Deciding who would use the Success Foundation iPads “was almost an arm wrestling contest! Everyone wanted them!” recalled Cosner.
Science won the contest, for now; Chappelow’s three science teachers share the iPads. The 7th grade science class we visited was traditional in that Kendra Woodcock, the teacher, often did whole-class activities. But, thanks to the iPads and a free app called Nearpod, these were whole-class activities with a difference. Using Nearpod, Woodcock had created an interactive power-point presentation about DNA and forensics. After the class watched it together, students began working on a project at their own tables. As they worked, they answered questions on their individual iPads and sent them to Woodcock, who instantly saw their answers and used them to spur discussion: “Eighty percent of you voted for answer B. Can someone tell me why they chose that answer?”
Kids like answering questions on iPads, she told us, because they can type, not handwrite, and they enjoy the clicky noises. (Who doesn’t?) For her part, Woodcock likes being able to see the answers instantly. “I can do a quick check on the app for understanding and have the data right there. No looking through lots of notebooks,” she explained. The Nearpod app allows Woodcock to analyze class progress, monitor individual work, view usage statistics and create reports about the class and about individual students. Not only is this one-stop app a boon for a busy teacher, it’s good for the students, because a teacher can fine-tune instruction based on the data he or she receives each day.
Woodcock enjoys finding new ways to teach using the iPads. She often uses Nearpod, but students told me they also like another app where they can look closely at cells. They make movies with the iPads sometimes, too. “They have so much fun with them,” she said.
Cosner wrote me, “Students RAVE about them! We just can’t have enough! We notice that student engagement is FAR higher when we use them.” She added, “We just can’t thank the Success Foundation enough for these. With budgets getting tighter and tighter, we can’t find the money to support added technology within the building budget. We have relied on our parent-teacher organization and you to help—Thank you!”