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Web-based learning opportunities are multiplying by the day, and Monticello High School French teacher Erica Bryant sees no need to ignore them. With that in mind, her classes just started using six iPads a month ago to supplement their textbook learning experiences.
It is the latest in a string of classes at nearly every grade level to be using the devices across the district, according to Wendy Stokowski, the district’s technology coordinator. She said the district now owns 118 iPads.
Online uses have run the gamut, from text editing to graphic design and even some amateur videography.
Bryant said the addition of tablet technology has not only excited the students, but challenged their teacher.
“It’s making my lessons better by challenging me, and they love it. They want to use them; they want to do different things,” she said.
That includes a recent senior French class assignment that involved editing down a short story (Le Vase de Soissons) down to six to 10 short sentences.
“This was a very complex story,” said Bryant. “The idea behind the assignment was that they could edit this to the point it could be read and understood by a child.”
Through the process, students not only edited, but added graphics, photos and even recordings to make the final project a more multi-media experience.
District students are using the tablets in a myriad of ways, including at Monticello elementary schools.
“Some teachers have set up centers where students can use math/reading/language apps to reinforce skills,” said Stokowski. “The other ways they are used include Blog book responses, where students type up thoughts on books they are reading.”
Other software and ‘apps’ being used include Pages, a layout program that allows students to create their own virtual book that can be shared with others. Scannable QR codes are also used to help deliver information to students, and BrainPop is a good way to help students find helpful nonfiction articles.
Bryant said the use of such devices also prepares students for life past high school.
“We have to prepare our students for tomorrow, not for today. We prepare students for challenges that exist, and to be prepared for technology that hasn’t even been invented yet,” she said.
Other classroom uses for iPads includes video projects, reviewing for quizzes, and writing activities.
“As a teacher, I am just so thrilled for what it means to my students, and I am grateful for a community that supports things like this. I’m excited,” added Bryant, who has taught French for four years at Monticello.