How Private Schools Are Using iPads

Child with iPad. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Private schools are on the forefront of using technology to further education. NAIS, or the National Association of Independent Schools, has developed a set of principles about technology use in their member schools that emphasizes the importance of training teachers so they can implement the new technologies in their classrooms. As technology educator Steve Bergen of Summercore has noted in his thirty years' experience implementing technology in private schools, the key to implementing technology well in schools is training teachers to use it well and use it across the curriculum. Here are some novel ways private schools across the country are using technology, including iPads.

Using the iPad to Teach Across the Curriculum

Many private schools have begun to use tablets, including iPads. For example, Cambridge Friends School, a co-ed Quaker pre-K through 8th grade school in Massachusetts, developed a program by which every sixth, seventh, and eighth grader will use an iPad to replace laptops. As reported in Business Wire, The iPads were provided in part thanks to a grant from Avid founder Bill Warner and his wife, Elissa. The iPads are used across the curriculum, in every subject matter. For example, students use them to watch time-release photos of an osmosis and diffusion lab. In addition, students were able to see a slide of the Maya temple of Chichén Itzá and then swipe across the slide to see what the temple looked like 1,000 years ago.

Using the iPad to teach Math

San Domenico School, a boys' and girls' pre-K through 8th grade day school and a 9-12 girls' day and boarding school in Marin County, California, has a "1-to-1" iPad program for grades 6-12 and an iPad pilot program in grade 5. The school's technology department works to train teachers in all grades to use the technology to further educational goals. For example, math teachers at the school use iPad math text applications, and they also use the iPad for taking notes and managing homework and projects.

In addition, teachers can use applications such as videos from Khan Academy to reinforce their skills. Khan Academy has over 3,000 videos on a range of academic areas, including math, physics, history, and finance. Students can use their videos to practice skills and keep track of how well they are doing towards reaching their goals. Another well-known math application is Rocket Math, available as an iPad application. Through this program, students can practice math skills through worksheets or through "math missions" on the iPad.

At the nearby Drew School a co-ed 9-12 school in San Francisco, all students also have an iPad. Students are trained about how to use their iPads, and they are allowed to bring their iPads home. In addition, the school hosts training sessions for parents to learn how to use the iPad. At the school, math teachers digitally project math problems that students can work out on their iPads, and teachers and students use a program called SyncSpace Shared Whiteboard to work together on math problems. The images captured on the Whiteboard can be e-mailed or saved. Eventually, the school plans to replace all textbooks with iPads.

The iPad as an Organizing Device

Students can also use the iPad as an organizational tool. Some teachers at different schools have noted that the iPad can help middle school and other students who tend to lose or misplace homework handle and centralize their assignments. In addition, students who have iPads do not misplace their textbooks or notebooks. Students can also use the iPad to take and organize notes using tools such as the Note function or a program such as Evernote, which allows students to tag notes and place them in specific notebooks so they can be easily found. As long as students don't misplace their iPad, they have all their materials at their disposal.