On July 18th, our district sent a small team (Jackie Neuberger, Bryan Stearns, David Maxwell, and myself) to visit Minnetonka, Minnesota schools for their 1:1 iPad Institute. The district currently has 1,600 iPads deployed to all 9th and 10th graders at Minnetonka High School. Also visit..”My notes from Minnetonka’s 1:1 iPad Program”
1. “It’s NOT about finding the perfect app.”
A brilliant quote from science teacher Ben Stanerson (@ben_stanerson), recognizing that many teachers start by looking for the perfect app. Instead, it’s about thinking creatively to enhance your teaching. He also specifically highlighted how this plays out in science classrooms where it’s more important to get the workflow down for how digital science labs are conducted. Using this approach; capturing video, photos, and screen capture tools become the most important tools in the science room.
2. “ I was having teacher dreams in July.”
A quote from one of the 16 initial pilot teachers, recognizing the amount of work and anxiety involved with implementing iPads into the classroom. However, to Minnetonka’s credit, they have put together some incredible resources to address this, including: starting small with a limited number of classrooms, additional summer training dates for staff, access to the equipment long before students, and lots of on-site professional help through TOSA’s (Teachers on Special Assignment, which are certified teachers who leave the classroom for a year or two, assist with building implementations, then return to the classroom).
3. “Make no mistake, this initiative is about the teacher”
Quote from a district administrator highlighting that the project is not about the device, it’s about teaching and learning. Their program provides incredible professional development resources directed at using the technology to accelerate learning. I was really impressed with how they collected a wide variety of data from their pilot classrooms- including the number of formative assessments in the course. During the pilot, they increased formative assessments in the classroom by 65%.
4. “Now there’s no anxiety about it”
A student quote referring to the usage of iPads to streamline assessments, meaning that students didn’t have to wait as long for feedback. In fact, they discussed how the usage of formative assessments thru iPads enabled teachers to provide direct assistance to students in need – DURING the quiz! There was no need to wait until quiz was over – the teacher could monitor the progress during the quiz and provide assistance right then.
5. “The Internet is more interesting than my Civics class”
A quote from high school teacher Brent Veninga, recognizing that each child having Internet access would present new classroom issues. Minnetonka’s training program doesn’t focus on apps. In fact, one of the major PD focus areas is classroom management.
“Nothing” was the response to the question “What are you doing about printing from an iPad?“ If you want to transform to digital classrooms, then worrying about printing isn’t a good use of time.