We’ve started distributing iPads to the students. This project, which began at seven elementary schools in the North end of Hamilton last year with teacher devices and classroom kits for approx 70 Grade 4-6 classrooms, has now expanded to include Henderson Secondary, and Mountain Secondary, and will see iPads deployed to all students and teachers from Grade 4 to Grade 12 at these nine schools. We provisioned iPads to the additional teachers in early June, and have now begun a month-long distribution that will put devices into the hands of all of the students. Throughout the year we will provide ongoing professional development opportunities for the teachers to help leverage this technology to transform the learning happening within the walls of our schools. We hope to use this space to document that journey.
We’ve quickly realized that in order to do this correctly the process needs to include sitting with each student one-on-one at a variety of centres: creating iTunes accounts, configuring email, describing the ways in which students can access the HWDSB app catalogue to download apps, setting an onscreen security password, and signing in to Google Drive, The HUB (our blended learning environment), and the D2L Binder app. We are also helping the students to subscribe to all of the class calendars from the courses they are taking this semester. This service will push assignments to the student’s calendar so that they have a centralized space where they can see all of the different assignments and important dates that they need to attend to in order to succeed. Despite some being savvy at using the devices in their personal lives, in most cases the ways in which these tools can be utilized to enhance and accelerate learning in the classroom is uncharted territory for student and teacher alike.
There are a variety of instructional hand-outs that we are using during this initial process this that may be of use to others. We’ve shared those documents here: