Administrators have expanded implementation of the school’s iPad program there, keeping pupils up to speed with the technological times.
Immaculate Heart officials said the program allows teachers to combine educational resources on the Internet with more conventional teaching materials, thus creating a customized, hands-on learning curriculum.
“The iPad is a technological tool available for the teacher to incorporate into the classroom,” said Immaculate Heart Assistant Principal Bob Baldonado. “Although we have a mandated curriculum to cover, the iPad provides many innovative and interactive ways to cover the curriculum while at the same time keeping the students motivated and engaged.”
Administrators tested the waters last year, when every eighth grader at the school received his/her own iPad2, courtesy of the Speedwell Foundation, Shelter Hill Foundation and the Net-Texts Pilot Program.
The move proved to be so successful that Baldonado expanded the program to seventh-grade classrooms in 2012-13. The iPads have totally replaced textbooks for eighth graders while supplementing texts for seventh graders.
Immaculate Heart teachers are allowed to design their courses as long as they cover the required curriculum established by the Office of Catholic Schools in the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta, Baldonado said. Middle school instructors like Haydee Vader are reporting positive results from their young charges at Immaculate Heart.
“The students are more engaged; they enjoy the variety of ways the curriculum is presented,” Vader said. “Being able to access their notes, books, videos and other materials from anywhere is a big plus for them.
“I hear comments such as, ‘This is so much better than using the book.’”
To date, more than 100 software applications, or apps, are available for student use — among the more common, Net Texts, Pages, iBooks, Notability, Khan Academy and Calendar.
By the same token, iPads in the classroom also allows teachers to use a wide variety of resources to cover curriculum.
“Technology in the classroom is not the wave of the future it is happening now,” said Baldonado. “Gone are the days of overhead transparencies and VHS tapes.”
“Teacher and students can now stream videos, peruse interactive textbooks and utilize apps to master concepts taught in class,” he added. “The library’s card catalog has been replaced by Google … our students have the ability to obtain information at their fingertips.”