Digital Device Deductions

Donald Elementary

Evaluating 1:X...

We are coming upon the end of year one of our 1:X campus rollout. While evaluating our primary grade level 1:X program we asked for feedback from kindergarten and first grade teachers, students, and parents, below are their thoughts.

Reflections

Parent Perceptions...


  • I am very happy that the children have the opportunity to use iPads in their classroom. I think it brings a different perspective to their studies. For example, it's one thing to read about nature or write about nature (those things are good and important), but also being able to go out and apply your learnings by taking pictures of things they observe in nature can really help the child understand how their lessons apply to the real world. Sarah also tells me about "games" she plays on the iPad. While the children may see some of the applications as games, many of them are actually reinforcing their alphabet, number recognition, and other skills in a fun way for the children. By no means does it replace reading a book or writing assignments, but I like that the technology is used as a compliment to their lessons. Let's face it, we seem to be becoming more dependent on technology in all aspects of our lives. I think it's natural that their studies reflect that trend. - Pam
  • I very much like that we are keeping up with technology as it will be a huge part of these kids futures. I also really like the tech free times (lunch and recess) so the kids can develop people skills. My concern is giving 1st graders iPads since they haven't fully developed the ability to write on paper yet. I would feel better about keeping iPads in the classroom for kinder and first as a supplement and then start passing them out in second grade. - Amy
  • We hear about the computers and iPads on a weekly basis. Andy enjoys them very much. We have downloaded a couple of apps on my iPad that he uses in school. Definitely seems to benefit him. -Neil
  • I support the use of MacAirs and iPads in kindergarten, because I think the children should learn from a young age how to manage technology in their lives and how to make the best use of it in their learning. I think the use of computers in classroom is essential in developing their analytical thinking and creative skills, and also teaches them how to reach useful information quickly. I think the balance between all kinds of learning activities is important, including the use of computers, but I have no concerns that the kindergarten teachers are doing a great job at that. -Neva
  • The use of technology has promoted a desire for learning in my child. She is excited to explore new ideas and concepts. Technology has given her a tool that opens up her mind to a world of information. -Purvi
  • Technology allows for creativity along the learning journey. The children actually choose how they would like to present their ideas and how they would like to design their learning goals. It is amazing how each child takes a different approach to using technology. Technology allows the children to have differentiated learning and many times it is the student who chose the path that best suits their needs. For example, with the Felt Board app, the task has been given to retell the story that was read by the teacher in group time. Children that are ready and comfortable to write and add speech bubbles take the initiative to add this detail. Others who are not ready tend to work longer on the picture details. Others use their verbal and future acting skills to record their voice with a tremendous amount of details and feelings. All of this is left up to the child and they push themselves as they gain confidence in their own ability. -Unknown
  • As a parent I am so grateful for the opportunity my children have had to use the most current technology in the classroom. They have far exceeded any expectations I had about their abilities and knowledge in how to use the iPads and what they have been able to create and learn. The number of educational applications available to them is incredible. I am proud that they are being given a safe and controlled environment in which to express their creativity and exposure to what will only encourage future educational success. - Lauren
  • I really like the exposure that the 1st graders are getting to various apps. For example, Educareations really allows the students to explain what they are thinking when they are completing their work. This helps the teachers to understand their train of thought. -Marcey
  • I see a big difference in Macy's level of engagement in learning between last year and this year as a result of the iPad. It has allowed her to progress at an individual and appropriate level to ensure she is challenged in her areas of strengths. For example, she was able to develop her own presentation on Pilgrims and their journey on the Mayflower, conducted her own research, selected her images and recorded her voice to dictate the presentation for each slide (where she would not have been able to type the words). Her teacher, Mrs. Bratton, brought a traditional Pilgrim costume that Macy wore on the day of her presentation, and she was thrilled about her accomplishment of creating her first presentation and proud of her success in delivering the interesting facts to her classmates. The iPad served as a tool to enable the LISD Strategic Plan of challenging each student daily. I can see that the iPad supports the instructional goals in the classroom as well as music, art, library, and PE, and it gives my daughter, (only 7 years old), the power of technology to access a breadth of information quickly, along with age appropriate "apps" to enable her the hands on ability to demonstrate and solidify her absorption of the material. -Christina
  • Prior to school starting, I was concerned about how technology would be used in first grade. I felt that this age really needs to use pencil and paper for most things. I have been impressed by the balance between traditional tools and technology that our first grade teachers have been able to strike. The iPad is just another tool in our students box. I watched the students work on a PBL about a city/community. The way the students were able to use their iPads along with their books to research and create a presentation was incredible. They were engaged in a way that I don't think would be possible with merely a book and the creativity was impressive. Engaging our kids and making learning fun is important for creating a lifelong love of learning. Technology is a great thing when used to enhance teaching, not replace it. The first grade team at Donald is doing a great job of this. -Michelle
  • I have been constantly amazed at how much Bailey is learning in Kindergarten. She has become more engaged in learning, has learned more, and has retained that learning at a much higher rate than my other children did at this age. I think a large part of her success has been due to Donald's technology program and the skill Mrs. Kerl has shown in implementing that program in the classroom. Both her basic skills and her creativity are blossoming and I am thrilled with the results! -Michaele
  • We believe that the use of technology at Donald is broadening Luke's education and preparing him well for the future. -Penney
  • Although my oldest child only started kindergarten at Donald this year, I learned early on that technology is part of the DNA at Donald. Within weeks of starting school, Allie told me all about the Smartboard and the profiles she and her classmates created for use in the classroom. And just this week, she was telling me all the things she'd learned about teeth and bones. When I asked her where she learned this, she said, "It's from the BrainPop app on the iPad I use at school." I am amazed at my daughter's comfort level and fluency in technology, and I'm excited to see what she (and my son, as soon as he's old enough) will learn as Donald continues to find innovative ways to weave technology into its curriculum. I think it's a testament to the strength of our principal and teachers who aren't afraid to try new ways of teaching our children. -Melanie

Teacher Thoughts...


  • I cannot imagine teaching in my classroom at this point without technology that I use throughout each and every day. The world is literally at my fingertips. The teachable moments are not lost because my students can investigate with me on my iPad or computer instead of as in the past me just telling them about it. The Smartboard keeps group time interactive. Pictures, graphs, etc...are readily available. I integrate the use of iPads and computers into all cores areas. Daily, students are creating, investigating, exploring, and functioning at a much higher level of thinking because of the technology. Many kindergarteners come with very limited literacy skills. They are often successful using apps and graphics available through technology to communicate what they are thinking. Technology allows me to differentiate by using apps and programs which best meet students at their level. - Mrs. Bunkley, Kindergarten
  • The students in my class have many different learning styles. Technology provides me with another learning tool to help differentiate learning to reach all of my students needs. -Mrs. Starnes, Kindergarten
  • My students have had the opportunity to stretch their thinking and creativity through the use of the iPads. They've created Pic Collages and books using their technology tools. Math skills have been enhanced through the practice of creating and solving word problems and recording math strategies in Educreations. They have really enjoyed having choices in how they complete an assignment or create a project. Collaboration between students seems to occur naturally when they're using technology tools. They are most eager to share what they've learned or discovered. - Mrs. Thompson, First Grade
  • This is the first year that all first graders have had their own iPad to work with. At first both parents and I felt some trepidation in regards to 5 and 6 year olds begin responsible for such an expensive device. As wary as we were, the students, on the other hand, were experiencing such a level of excitement about school and learning as I have not witnessed in my teaching career. Once parents and students completely understood that the iPads in first grade are "in addition to", and not "instead of", fears and misgivings were replaced with a new understanding of how learning would be positively impacted. Students use their iPads as a tool to enhance their learning in creative ways. -Mrs. Bratton, First Grade
  • I especially like the recording feature of the iPad and MacAir. Educreations allows the children to write, draw, create, and record their ideas and work. The students save their work, Then I can go to Educreations.com and view each student's work and listen to their recordings. I can hear how they solved a story problem in math or retold a story they had read. I can hear them read a story and they can hear themselves, which is very motivational. -Mrs. Burns, First Grade

Student Speculations...


  • I like learning how to make a video about something in my brain. -Unknown
  • Hungry Fish helps me learn what numbers make other numbers. -Annie
  • I like to practice reading on the iPad because it gives me a different way to practice. You get to spell words. -Phoenix
  • I like to learn ABC's so I can read and write. -Unknown
  • The iPad is fun because you don't have to raise your hand to see if you are right. You can push buttons to find out. -Sophia
  • Learning is more fun on the iPad. -Grayson
  • I like to go to Starfall on computers to read the funny books. -Unknown
  • I like the paint game on abcya.com because it helps me learn new art tricks. -Tierney
  • I like starfall.com because you get to learn all the letters in sign language. -Tara
  • I like HMH Readers. If I get stuck on a word, it reads it to me. -Aidan
  • I like Spelling City because I'm learning while I play games. -Jolie
  • If we're doing a project, we can take pictures. We can make cool designs in Pic Collage. -Cohen
  • I like to work on the iPads because we get to go to Educreation and make Valentine's for friends. -Unknown
  • I love to do my spelling word work in notes on my iPad. -Chloe
  • There are a lot of educational apps, like spelling City, that help us learn spelling. -Macy
  • We can use data from our iPads to make presentations. -Jessica
  • We learn lots of things on technology like Moby tells us about body parts like our hearts and Martin Luther King Jr. -Unknown