NEGAUNEE - Learning with new technology is becoming easier for students at Lakeview Elementary School with the school's new iPad lab.
The iPad lab is a mobile cart that carries 30 iPads and can move from from classroom to classroom. Students in junior kindergarten through second grade get to use the iPads. Each class receives approximately 45 minutes per week with the iPads. Junior kindergarten and kindergarten classes receiving the same amount of time, but the juniors' time is divided into two shorter sections.
"iPads are an excellent classroom tool that introduces students to technology and provide them with an exciting, fun way of learning," said Nathan Fisher, technology teacher at Lakeview Elementary. "iPads foster learning independence, going beyond the conventional methods of reading step-by-step directions."
From left, first-graders Chett Pietila, Evaneesha Sjoholm, Alec Nelson Logan Katona and Alexis LaForest start their iPad session off with an application they learned the week before. (Journal photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
Every week the students begin the class by working on a previously learned application then learn a new one, Fisher said. Basic iPad functions and uses are taught while learning to use applications that stress literacy and mathematical skills. Fisher said he tries to pick apps that corresponds with what the students are learning in class that week.
"Each class is excited to try our newly installed learning apps and interactive e-books each week," Fisher said. "
Fisher said he tries out all the apps before he teaches them to the students. Most of the apps are free and if an app is worth buying then it is bought with the technology budget, he said.
"There is a grey area between learning and games," Fisher said. "It needs to be a learning tool but it also has to have a fun aspect to it to keep the kids entertained."
During the first few weeks of school students required a lot of safety instruction and reminders on how to safely operate and care for the iPads, Fisher said.
"This reduces any inevitable wear and tear on the iPads and will aid in protecting students as we begin to explore learning venues and researching on the Internet," Fisher said.
Through hands-on learning, the students develop technical skills that will allow them to successfully maintain telecommunications in many aspects of their lives, Fisher said and the students quickly pick up on how to use the iPads and the apps.
"Even students with little or no experience with iPads at home learn to problem solve, try multiple solutions, evaluate results and explore on their own," Fisher said.
The iPad lab was purchased with a combination of funds from a grant and the general school fund.
"Lakeview Elementary wanted to provide students with innovative learning experiences to keep them at the forefront of technology," Fisher said.
Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-486-4401.