Students utilizing iPads to stay organized in classes
By Anna Erickson
Park Rapids students are utilizing their iPads on a daily basis to organize homework, read and complete worksheets. Some are even teaching other teachers and their students.
Park Rapids Area High School student Iain Wallace is one of these iPad champions. He was involved early on in the adoption of iPads this summer and has continued to share his knowledge of the technology.
He showed Park Rapids Area School Board members some of the tools he and other students are utilizing at Monday night’s board meeting.
“He’s been one of the lead students with the iPad dispersion,” said High School Principal Jeff Johnson.
A program that has been utilized a great deal is “myHomework,” a free app. It helps students improve their organization.
Wallace said teachers and students can add assignments to the program and organize them by priority and when they are due.
“You can set up a reminder” a few weeks, days or hours before something is due, he added.
Another app being used is called “Notability.” That program allows students to place an assignment in a dropbox or Google Drive for a teacher.
Students and teachers are also able to email each other.
Wallace has taken advantage of free pdfs of text books so he doesn’t have to carry around a two-and-a-half inch physics text book, for example.Some teachers, such as Shane Graham, have been using the iPads and technology to connect with students regularly by posting the syllabus and other resources on various sites.
Other teachers are still becoming familiar with the technology and will begin using it in the next trimester or two.
Graham said that about a third of teachers are active iPad users, a third are hit and miss and a third of teachers haven’t adopted the technology yet.
StudentVUE is another program being used by some teachers and students to share resources and allow students to check on their grades on a regular basis.
Johnson said administration isn’t telling teachers or students they have to use certain applications.
“Multiple platforms aren’t necessarily bad,” he said.
Teachers are continuing to receive more training on the technology. Monday was a teacher in-service day and some teachers worked on the iPads.
Some teachers who are regularly using the iPads have noticed they are spending less time at the photocopier and are saving paper.
Wallace said the reaction from students has been mixed but most are accepting the technology.
School board member Sherry Safratowich said that Park Rapids students will have an edge by learning this technology early.
In other business, the board:
n Approved hiring Chuck Rognstad as a bus driver effective Nov. 25.
n Approved hiring Cassy Smith as a part-time Special Education Paraprofessional.
n Approved extra-curricular volunteer Cole Tretbar as a wrestling coach.
n Approve changing the retirement date change for Joanne Wright from Jan. 3, 2014 to Dec. 31, 2013.
n Received a donation of $1,050 in gift cards from Walmart to Century School teachers.