Upcoming Gala helps Fund Grants Like iPads at the Middle School

Several examples of how DSEF funds innovation in our schools are demonstrated at the Middle School with their use of iPads in creative and innovative ways.   Middle School Science Teacher and Science Curriculum Coordinator,  Ana Hurley used iPads this September, with her seventh grade students to identify organisms in pond water samples.

Students were able to bring in samples from nearby ponds, create a wet mounted slide, and look at the sample with the microscope.  Then students were able to use the classroom set of  iPads to access a detailed pond water application to visually identify organisms they were observing.   Students were excited to witness and identify living creatures from ponds in their own backyards!  Lessons like this are engaging and exciting in a way that papers and pencils just can’t compete with!

Lori Mazzocca Morgan, a sixth grade science teacher, has created instructional videos, online document libraries and lessons on her website.  Students can enter class, open up an iPad, find the assignment of the day and listen to an instructional video about their interactive notebook or foldable.   Documents created and available on the iPad can be color coded, enlarged and can even have an audio component for the auditory learner.   Students can always access them from the same place (no hunting for loose, crumpled papers, etc.)  and read them as many times as they need.   So for the child that needs to hear and see directions repeatedly, the iPad makes this possible.  Ms. Mazzocca is also using the iPads to visit NASA’s website so students can read and listen to astronaut interviews and articles about  space.  Having the iPads allows teachers to differentiate lessons in a much more efficient, seamless and anonymous manner.  In other words, students can be working on mastering different skills at different times as determined by their readiness levels.

Adam Wiskofske, another seventh grade science teacher, created a Google website template for the entire science department customized for iPad use.  These vibrant, interactive websites excite and engage our students.  The websites make it easy for students to access the curriculum online.  In addition, Mr. Wiskofske has been instrumental in training science department teachers in the use of Google sites and Apple products.

The entire science department is grateful to DSEF for granting us these incredible tools allowing for innovative learning experiences for our students.

Karen Raymond and Judy Gooen are a great example of two teachers at the Dover Sherborn Middle School who have a vision. They wanted to be able to customize the learning of math to fit each student’s pace and learning style, but engage the students in their own learning and help them to focus on the task at hand. They decided to submit a grant to DSEF to pilot the use of Ipads in small group math. Many apps were used, but one called Educreations seemed to particularly harness the power of the Ipad by turning it into a recordable whiteboard. Once a math concept was presented, the students could use this interactive tool to write a math problem on the Ipad screen, then use the stylus to solve the problem. As they wrote down and verbalized their steps toward solving the problem, they could record the entire segment. The teachers were able to capture the student’s thinking process and even review it again with them. One powerful example was a student who ultimately came up with the incorrect answer, but because the teacher could go back and review the student’s work step by step, it was evident that the student understood the process but had simply missed a step. Students also used the camera feature on the Ipad to snap photos of math sheets and number lines, then the students utilized these images interactively by drawing on them, color coding etc. while also recording the math process involved toward solving problems. One student verbalized that recording his own math process helped him to stay focused on the task and offered a unique way for him to show the teacher his knowledge of the concept. Students were able to work at their own pace and then get teacher feedback if they needed by reviewing their work, or they could move on to more challenging problems. If a teacher was already engaged, the student could even go and watch tutorials that reviewed the concept both visually and orally until the teacher was able to reconnect. This differentiated learning is a win-win. The teacher is able to clearly see each student’s level of understanding and progress while the student has a window into how they themselves learn best.

The Dover Sherborn Education Fund is proud to have supported these projects by funding Ipads through DSEF grants. It is thanks to you that so generously give to DSEF, that we are able to fund exciting projects like these for talented teachers that make a difference in our children’s learning.

Funding of these opportunities is possible through the generosity of donors who attend the DSEF Annual Fall Gala Fundraiser or donate during the February Phonathon.