Janine Buckley, Grade 4/5 teacher at Ecole Puntledge Park Elementary in Courtenay, BC, challenged herself to take on a SET-BC Classroom-Based Solution for the 2016-17 school year. Janine was tech-comfortable on phones and laptops but had not yet embarked on the world of iPads. Keen to improve the options of her students to produce quality work and wishing to find creative ways to support written output, Janine, together with Learning Support Teacher, Jennifer Hedican, and District Tech Support Teacher, Jane Rondow, saw iPads and iOS apps as a way to increase engagement and support her students reach a myriad of positive outcomes.
The SD 71 Student Services Technology Department (Jane Rondow, Lisa McKenna and Heather Mary Campbell) worked closely with the classroom teacher and the SET-BC consultant on this classroom solution. The team helped to narrow down the iOS apps and accessibility features for the class and teacher to use as they developed their ideas. Jane Rondow co-planned and co-taught some lessons with the classroom teacher, lending her extensive expertise to make the technology easily understood, accessible, relevant and fun.
Classroom teacher, Janine, was fastidious about making sure that the goals of the curriculum were paramount to the use of the technology. With the advantage of having her extremely tech-savvy district support teacher immediately at the ready to help implement the apps, students in Janine’s class were first introduced to Pic Collage as a way to collect and share information about their family heritage. The ease of learning the new app and students’ obvious engagement when working with technology, led the way to simple stories in Book Creator and soon more complex comic book templates as a means of expressing what they had learned about immigrants coming to Canada from various countries. Always ready for more, students then embarked on app-smashing, the practice of combining multiple apps to showcase their productions: Chatterkids allowed them to give photographs a voice, Tellagami was used for creative “Come Learn in Canada” advertisements. In addition, the students often make use of the iPad for its many access options, word prediction, dictation, magnification and read-back features. Their teacher also has plans for using SnapType, Voice Dream Reader and iWordq as supports for the many and diverse needs of her students.
Janine has come a long way in learning the many ways technology can support her students’ educational goals. Not only has she successfully navigated iPad management in a lively classroom and integrated a number of apps for effective student support, but she has also, this year, taken on learning to use her classroom Smartboard and Smart Notebook Software on a routine basis. Despite being relatively new to educational technology, when asked to describe her experience working with her SET-BC consultant and district support team, Janine provided the following list of adjectives: “useful, productive, worthwhile, helpful, supportive, practical, ready-to-use, realistic, engaging, fun – I could go on and on…. “
And the learning and sharing will “go on and on”. Together with Puntledge support teachers, Janine and Jane will share how the students have used iPads to support learning at an upcoming staff meeting. As Puntledge is a dual-track French/English elementary school, teachers will be given the opportunity to learn what has worked in Janine’s English speaking class and what apps will translate well when the iPad language and region are altered to French. With the help of the SET-BC consultant, Puntledge staff will have the opportunity to learn which apps will produce an experience that is entirely immersive (all menus and prompts changed to French) and which apps will remain partially English, but are still useful, engaging and promote quality work in either the French or the English classroom.
Well done, “Bien Fait”, Ecole Puntledge Park Elementary and School District #71!