Minarets integrates iPads into all facets of education

April 3, 2013 

It might have been Spring Break last Friday, but that didn't mean that Minarets High School teachers were off on vacation. Instead, many of them were inside the Minarets Media Lounge receiving training on implementing iPads into education. Next year the entire freshman class at Minarets will use iPads as part of their daily education.

Minarets Principal Michael Niehoff said the rationale for implementing iPads into education is that they are more affordable that MacBooks, but also have hundreds of apps (programs) that are education specific and they are being developed daily. Also, they are get presentation tools for teachers and students.

"iPads are going to take what we are already doing and enhance it dramatically," said Jon Corippo, director of technology, film and Minarets Charter.

Corippo said every student will have a drawing pad, a virtual Ti-84 calculator, a drum pad, a piano keyboard and a high quality video production tool as well as the capability of utilizing more than a million apps available from the iTunes App Store.

Some of those apps students will be using on their iPads include Keynote (which can be used for presentations), iMovie, Doceri (an interactive white board), and 123D Make (3D modeling software).

"These are giving us the tools for kids to create," Corippo said. "Where the world is going, the ability to think in 3D is huge. If you can draw it, you can own it. It's a whole new world -- like Columbus over the rainbow."

With each freshman class student having an iPad at their fingertips, Corippo said they'll also be able to broadcast student work wirelessly to the school's Apple televisions using a program called Airplay.

"The ability to see and share student work will have a dramatic effect on teaching and learning," Corippo said.

By school year 2014-15, Corippo said both the freshman and sophomore classes will be using iPads while 11th and 12th grade use MacBooks (computers).

Burt Lo came all the way from Santa Clara to instruct Minarets' teachers on how to properly use an iPad. Minarets Principal Michael Niehoff was happy with the staff turnout to the Spring Break training and said it demonstrated their commitment to professional development.

"I am very pleased that our teachers at Minarets continue to develop a very healthy and aggressive interest in on-going professional development and training," Niehoff said. "Our students are very fortunate to have such great teachers always willing to learn more."

Six teachers have already been implementing iPads into their teaching. Pre-algebra and English teacher Don Watkins is one of them. Some of his favorite apps to use are Grammar Up, Your Teacher, and Khan Academy. He uses Grammar Up for English warm up activities. Then questions answered incorrectly can be put up through the iPad onto the Apple television and Watkins can lead the class in a discussion on answers missed and the correct answers.

With Your Teacher, students can do team challenges, get help with math problems, and print off worksheets and the end of a lesson.

When students answer questions on the Khan Academy app, student progress is color-coded so Watkins can easily follow their progress and see what areas they need help with.

Watkins said students like the freedom the iPad gives them. Because it's so small, they can easily walk around with it and don't have to worry about plugging it into a wall. And, because it's interactive, he said it also keeps their interest more than traditional teaching does.

"The progress I've seen in a year is huge," Watkins said. "Jon is awesome about getting us new stuff and showing us how to use it," Watkins said.

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