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June 7, 2011 > Computer lab rolls along

Computer lab rolls along

Submitted By Staff of 'Chronicles of Weibel'

Editor's Note: "Chronicles of Weibel," the student newspaper of Fremont's Weibel Elementary School, asked the Tri-City Voice to re-print their recent series of articles about the school's mobile computer lab. Some changes and edits have been made to the student articles:

Two years ago, Weibel Elementary School lost its computer prep teacher to budget cuts. The computer lab was left without a credentialed computer teacher. Teachers were scrambling to teach computer skills to their students. That's when the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) stepped in and took over the maintenance and running of the computer lab. The PTO had the wonderful idea of providing a mobile computer lab and purchased 30 iPads. The iPads are on a mobile cart and classes have been alternating with learning basic computer skills on the lab computers and using educational apps on the cutting-edge technology of the iPads. The student school newspaper team interviewed the school community to get feedback about the iPad lab:

Hooray! Fred E. Weibel Elementary School got the most awesome Apple-iances on Earth-- iPads! Ranging from primary grades to upper grade students, all children enjoyed using them. With its advanced technology, iPads have created a new educational experience for kids to learn. The numerous apps on the iPad have proven to be very beneficial.--Jessica--

Q & A interview with Principal Randolph-- By Ria and Karen:

Q: What do you think about the iPads?
A: I am excited that it is available to students because it is the most recent technology tool and a world- wide craze!

Q: Educationally, what are the pros and cons of using the iPad?
A: The cons are making sure that the iPads are secure. The pros are that the students get exposed to technology that is good for students later in life and their jobs.

Q: What are the alternatives you considered before buying the iPads?
A: The alternative is that there are more computers in the classroom.

Q: If there were alternatives what made it more favorable to buy the iPads?
A: The iPads are more mobile and enjoyed by the students.

Q: Do you think the iPad could replace modern textbooks?
A: No, and not in the near future. We still need textbooks, but supplement with technology.

Q: Are you concerned about security problems with the iPad?
A: I am concerned about the iPads. That is why we have them in locks and they are always in a locked closet. There is always a possibility of a security breech.

Q: As the principal of Weibel what are the responses you expect from the iPads?
A: I expect the students will do more research and interact with other students. Still, the iPads should be used as a supplement for lessons.

Tech Committee Chair's viewpoint-- By Sameer and Risheek:
Mr. Behzad Lajevardi hopes that all of the students in Weibel have a chance to use the iPads. He thinks that every grade will use them in a different way and that lower grades would use them for arithmetic, word searches, and more, and the higher grades would use them as a research tool. The tech committee ordered the iPads at the end last year, and purchased a cart to hold and transport them at the beginning of this year. They had set up the whole package in February. While setting them up, they encountered a few problems, such as synching and recharging the iPads. After that, they purchased a few apps that were recommended for each grade. The tech committee's plan was that the teachers would make a list of apps, and they would then purchase them. Students can help their teachers in this process. Which gives us the main question: Did they install any games? Indeed they didn't. Lajevardi hoped that they wouldn't; the students could game at home and use the iPads for education in a fun way at school!

PTO President comments-- By Harshika and Jessica:
Eureka! As a new technological invention, iPads are being used to help children learn and have fun at the same time. Fahria Khan, PTO President, has a lot to say about this advancement in Weibel's educational curriculum. Khan invited the Apple representative over to discuss the options to revamp the computer lab. He mentioned that more and more schools were using iPads and iPod-Touches since that is the future of computing. On the basis of the suggestions, 30 iPads were purchased. To raise money, a series of fundraisers were held. Though the tech fund is the primary source of funding and managing money for the iPads there were many other fundraisers. Some examples include: Bingo Night and "Sponsor a Computer." Teachers get to choose educational apps and have kids enjoy and educate themselves. Weibel has become a model for other schools to adopt iPads. The introducing of iPads will only enhance a classroom experience according to Khan. She is sure that iPads are a great achievement for the school.

The iPad Man of Weibel: Mr. App's Point of View--By Sangeetha and Amala:
Azar Hanna is a miraculous genius! He was a hero for our iPads because he assembled, downloaded, and really helped us! When we asked him how he liked working with Weibel's iPads, Hanna replied, "It's nice technology, and easy to use. There are eleven apps, downloaded mainly for the kids."

The 'iPad Man' told us a little bit about how we got the iPads and information on the iPads themselves. "We bought the cart, put the iPads in it, too," he explained. The iPads were very cool, with a Weibel label; teachers could roll the cart to their rooms. The iPads had many educational apps. Hanna likes the math, dictionary, phonics, and even some element apps. "The back is very complicated," Hanna explains, "full, with cables to sync the iPads with the computer, chargers, and even one big plug!"

"The iPads are for the kids to use in class, and actually, a few classes did!" 'Mr. App' (Hanna) thought the prospect of iPads is a great idea; a lot of children currently have iPods, iTouches, laptops, and iPhones. Here, on the school iPads, there are apps where you can learn a lot! Hanna supports this idea, and, most definitely, has a passion for working with this item. He's been working with technology for twenty-five years. "iPads, iPhones, all kids have them now; they'll be useful."

We asked Hanna, "Do you think iPads will influence the coming generation?" His response was that he believes every grade needs a different level of apps like spelling, math, and other subjects. 'Mr. App' is elated about Weibel purchasing iPads, and is enthusiastic about kids using them, too. Cheers for 'Mr. App', aka the 'iPad Man,' the astonishing Mr. Azar Hanna!

Primary Grade Viewpoints-- By Nikita, Pramith, and Saleha:
First grade teachers Mr. Kilby and Mr. Ontiveros have started using the iPads. Kilby believes that it's a good idea to be able to use iPads because they can help kids learn in a new hands-on way. To decide what apps to use the teachers met and did some research on educational iPad applications. After discussion, they came up with the flashcard app. By using this, the students were able to test their level of difficulty in math and keep track of their score. Ontiveros thinks using iPads will help kids in the future by making them familiar with technology.

Second grade teachers also have used the iPads. They think it's a good idea to use iPads because it makes it easier for kids to learn. Some of the teachers met and discovered the flashcard application. After discussing this app with other teachers they decided to use the math app. So far two teachers have used this app and they say the iPad helped the kids enjoy practicing math. The teachers believe that in the future there will be even more advanced technology and using iPads will prepare the kids for the complex technology to come.

Mrs. Coleman and Mrs. Stafford are first grade teachers who plan on using the iPad's flashcard app to improve their students' math skills. Stafford believes this "awesome tool" will help students in the future because we live in a technological world. Coleman wants to encourage her students to get familiar with the iPad and its educational apps. Third grade teachers, Mrs. Magraw and Mrs. Rahman also plan on using the iPads for math. In Magraw's class, the students will play fun, educational math games. They both believe that their students will enjoy using the iPads. Rahman thinks using the iPads will help students keep up with the latest technology later in life.

iPads were like awesomeness in a box for the primary graders! The first graders used them for many things like math, as a dictionary, and for educational apps. They even played games on them! Still, most of the uses were connected to what they were learning in class. A lot of the first graders found it easy to use the iPads, but several were confused, and eventually learned as they kept practicing. The first graders preferred iPads over computers because of their portability and touch screen.

Second graders had a voice in this topic, too. Some second graders played games, like Dinos, on the iPads. Others used math apps and the dictionary app just like the first graders did. Although most of the second graders felt that using the iPads was simple, some thought it was a bit challenging. The iPad apps were for learning purposes, but for some second graders, the material on them was not connected to what they learned in class. Many second graders, like the first graders, preferred iPads rather than computers because they have fun games, a touch screen and are portable.

Opinions of Intermediate Grades-- By Karen, Rachana, Ria, and Sonali:
After interviewing all the upper grade teachers, we found that most teachers believe using the iPads is a great opportunity. It is great if you have the time and reason. Other teachers are not so excited. Some teachers feel it is limited to research and will use it for social studies and science. One teacher would like to have more chances of using them or have three or four in the classroom all the time. Two teachers said they would use them because kids like to learn through technology and it is good for research. One thing the teachers all agreed on was that iPads can help teach. Here is what the upper grade teachers would use the iPads for: research, science, social studies, and text books. The apps they might use are: NASA, dictionaries, apps for periodic table, chemical reactions, and math.

Kaitlyn, Tasneem, Michael, Dawoud, Tebrez, Ashley, Cynthia, Owen, Ria, Karen, Kayley, Surina, Shivani, Priyanka, Rissa, and Emi were interviewed. All of them are looking forward to using the iPad. When asked, if they liked the iPad, the answer was a unanimous ''YES''!

After reading all these articles, does it make you want to have an iPad?

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