UD professors are assisting St. Edmond's Academy as it introduces Apple iPads into its classrooms.

Learning your A-P-Ps

UD provides St. Edmond's Academy teachers iPad curriculum support

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8:46 a.m., March 1, 2012--Swapping chalkboards for touch screens, St. Edmond’s Academy in Wilmington has adopted a new, interactive way to learn by introducing Apple iPads into its classrooms.

Patricia Scott, principal of St. Edmond’s, read about an initiative integrating the use of iPads in urban schools in a UDaily article last summer.  It explained how faculty from UD’s School of Education have been working to increase academic achievement by incorporating technology into the curriculum.

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St. Edmond’s was using iPads in its classrooms but Scott, a UD alumna, was interested in providing her teachers with additional support to make the most of the technology.

Chrystalla Mouza, associate professor, Fred Hofstetter, professor, and Rachel Karchmer-Klein, associate professor, all in the School of Education, met with Scott to implement a hands-on learning mechanism for grades 6-8 at the all-boys school. To assure that the new modification is performing to its highest potential, UD faculty visit St. Edmond’s weekly to observe the new technology in classrooms.

They provide teachers with the resources and feedback while introducing new programs that evaluate and enhance the daily learning of the students.  They created a “wiki” -- software that allows users to create and edit a web page -- as a medium for teachers to post “frequently asked questions” and support videos, assisted in the implementation of VoiceThread for a reading class, and will be providing faculty professional development.

Scott was so pleased with the diligence of UD faculty that she sent a letter to UD President Patrick Harker describing their efforts. “Your faculty has been instrumental in providing my teachers with resources and feedback to enhance our technology program,” wrote Scott. “They visit every Monday to observe the classroom use of the technology, willingly research apps to use in the classroom and collaborated with me to help guide my faculty in their own professional development.”

Incorporating such technology may seem a bit overwhelming, with each student assigned an iPad to use both in school and at home, but Mouza remains very reassuring. “Managing a class where every student has a networked device with personalized information and data is no easy task, but the teachers are doing a great job capitalizing on the portability of the devices and keeping students engaged," she said.

Karchmer-Klein wholeheartedly agrees, saying that “the school’s integration of iPads should be commended” and adding that “students deserve 21st century educational experiences so they can be successful in today’s workforce.”

Mouza said she believes that “the use of these tools in school has the potential to bridge formal and informal learning and to make student learning personalized.”

Who wouldn’t want to be in a learning environment where countless questions can be answered instantly with three simple letters -- A-P-P?

Article by Danielle Burton

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