In an effort to improve the way students use technology in the classroom, the Y.A.L.E. Standard 9 concentration embarked on a new initiative for the 2011-2012 school year to use iPads as the main computing device for students and teachers. Each Standard 9 student and teacher was given his or her own iPad loaded with software apps that will be used for a variety of classroom tasks including e-textbooks, email and web browsing, note-taking, word processing, creating presentations, personal organization, and more. The adoption of iPads marks a new frontier in the Standard 9 concentration’s mission of integrating technology into all aspects of learning.
One of the iPad apps currently in use is Corkulous. Utilizing the visual metaphor of a cork board, Corkulous allows Standard 9 students to create graphical maps of abstract ideas and tasks to plan their assignments in a logical and visually organized way. Instructors can also create visual lesson plans that can be shared with students. Students can see what they have to do in a particular class by looking at what the instructor placed on the “cork board.” Post-it notes, checklists, web links and even photos can be “pinned” to the organizer to help students visualize and process their tasks for that lesson.
Particularly valuable to Standard 9 students taking college courses is an app called Noterize. This app allows students to type class notes while simultaneously recording audio of the lesson or lecture being given. The audio can then be listened to later while reviewing the written notes during study sessions. The app can also add audio and text annotations or text-highlighting to class notes and e-textbooks.
Another useful addition to the students’ library of apps is Dragon Dictation. This app allows a student to dictate into the iPad’s built-in microphone. The app converts speech into text passages which can be copied and pasted anywhere that accepts text, such as a word processing document or email.
Students will also benefit from the unique advantages of a next-generation device like the iPad, particularly its versatility. The Standard 9 concentration emphasizes employment and college experiences, mobility, and community-based instruction, so the students need a technology tool that serves many functions and travels conveniently. The iPad allows students to carry a computing device with them everywhere they go; the battery can last for several days without charging and built-in WiFi keeps students connected whether they are on Y.A.L.E.’s campus, in the community, or attending classes at Camden County College.
The iPad program is still in its initial stages as part of the Standard 9 concentration. Smaller pilot programs are also beginning at our Voorhees and Mansfield Township campuses with younger students. As the school year progresses, we hope to build upon our experiences using the iPads to further enhance academic achievement at Y.A.L.E. within an exciting, innovative, and collaborative learning environment.