Thursday, June 21, 2012

Student Experiences in a 1:1 iPad Environment

On Tuesday, June 19th, 2012, I attended iPadpalooza at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas. This conference about all things iPad in education was co-sponsored by Eanes ISD and TCEA.

One of the sessions I attended was a student panel. Four rising seniors from Westlake High School shared their experiences as part of a 1:1 iPad pilot which took place at WHS during the 2011-2012 school year. During this pilot, Eanes ISD issued iPads to all juniors and seniors and a few sophomores, over 1000 students in all. Forty teachers were also involved in the initiative, which challenged all parties to integrate mobile computing devices into teaching and learning.

Below are my notes from the student panel. First, each student shared his or her favorite apps for learning. Then, they took open questions from the audience. The students were very articulate, and I enjoyed learning about their experiences, both the positives and the negatives. Overwhelmingly, the experience leaned to the positive!

The Students' Favorite Apps

Note: As the students plugged in their iPads to the projector to demonstrate their favorite apps, I loved seeing the personal apps they had installed - Facebook, Netflix, etc. Score some points for personalization!

Goodreader - Annotating app. Allows highlighting and taking notes. Usesd it in math for writing on test reviews. Used it in reading to annotate novels, readings, etc. Allows you to toggle between documents easily.

iBooks - Can also annotate and highlight and add notes.

SidebySide - Allows you to open two windows next to each other. Example shown was two web browser windows.

WHS has an app called Self Service so students can pull down apps that were purchased for them by the school/district.

Wolfram Alpha - great for math. Has calculators for math and science. Was able to do intergrals in Calculus. Nice big scientific calculator keyboard.

Graph Calc HD - type in equations, graph them and compare the graphs

iMovie - created presentations for class assignments

Splashtop - connects your iPad to a computer via the Internet. Example - forget Word doc on computer at  home. Access computer via Splashtop, then get the Word doc off of home computer and drop it in Dropbox, then access document in Dropbox app on iPad. Or Email doc from home computer. Helpful for using things that go beyond capabilities of iPad. Photoshop, etc. Can hook to multiple computers.

WebDAV Nav - Access network shared folders from you iPad. This was provided by the school. Example - PDF of French textbook accessed this way.  Avoids copyright issues of putting textbooks online.

In Class - For class organization. Includes a calendar. Set due dates for assignments that will remind you with something needs to be turned in. Keep notes and save documents within the app. Put in profiles for each of your instructors. Room numbers, office hours, etc.

Audio Note - Allows you to record lectures in class and take notes. Example: Listen to teacher speaking and review the PowerPoint.

Quizlet Deck - Electronic flashcards. Can find card decks created by others and use them too. Compatible with Quizlet.

NoteTaker HD - When teachers provided PDFs, students could use a stylus to take notes.

The Student Experience

At this point, I stopped taking copious notes and started capturing the students' comments on their experience via Twitter. Below I have embedded a Storify which I used to preserve their thoughts. The Tweets are presented in slide-show format. Click the arrow to the right of the slide numbers to move through the show.

If you enjoyed the information in this post, you might also be interested in my post about Teacher Experiences in a 1:1 iPad Environment.