Nanwalek School staff and students are well into the first year of using their Apple Inc. gadgets, acquired through the ConnectED initiative and aimed at bridging the technology gap.
Principal Nancy Kleine pieced together a video presentation summarizing successes from the first quarter, which was presented before the Board of Education during a worksession Dec. 7, using — of course — the school’s various new devices.
At the start of the school year, “students and teachers immediately dug in and began the hard work of learning how to effectively use our iPads for learning,” Kleine said in the video.
Nanwalek School and school district administration developed measurable goals to be achieved through the three-year, one-time grant. Apple’s partnership with the White House was created to help schools that have minimal access to Internet and up-to-date technology, according to the Nanwalek ConnectED Charter, which was also presented during the worksession.
Kleine said making the video gave everyone at the school a chance to reflect on the many positive changes already popping up after only one quarter of implementation.
She highlighted the ways the 80 iPads — coupled with the fast Internet brought to the village in 2014 — expand access to information for students.
Before this year, students would write down questions to look up later, Kleine said.
“Students would miss those spur-of-the-moment learning opportunities because we didn’t have reliable access to the Internet,” Kleine said.
Teachers are more often implementing varied instruction in their classrooms by being able to supplementing physical with electronic resources and platforms, and kids can more easily record their daily lessons, Kleine said.
“Teachers are adding tools to their tool box to help students,” Kleine said.
Nanwalek teacher Glendon Fraser said his students are using applications to learn about product creation, improve geography skills and stay organized. He has been able to spruce up his website to include lesson plans and assignments for students who may have missed class and outlines of daily objectives.
“Right now there are a lot of great things that our iPads are providing for our students, in my classroom I think the best thing right now is that my classroom website gives them a vehicle through their iPads,” Fraser said.
Each of the strides made in the classroom are reflective of the ConnectED Project goals through utilization of the new technologies, including teachers being better able to personalize instruction, collaboration of staff, providing equity and access to the web. In the long-term, on-site goals will translate into increased digital literacy throughout the community, according to the document.
Kleine finished by saying she was thankful for the chance to give the wider school district a “little glimpse” into how things were going at the school.
Reach Kelly Sullivan at email@example.com.