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Using their iPads, students are tapping into current events, United Nations statistics and even images from Google Earth to better understand geography.
They just studied a unit on industrial development. They talked about how America imports large quantities of clothing and consumer items made in Asia. They used Google Earth to look at those factories and discuss why it costs less to manufacture in other countries. They read news stories, looked at photos and discussed the collapse of a garment factory in Bangladesh that killed more than 600 people.
Instead of relying on their textbook for facts and figures that are quickly outdated, they look for data online. “It makes it more real,” Wicklund said.“Before I would stand up there and lead them through it. Now they are the ones bringing up the questions. That’s when I know I’ve got them.”
Wicklund said he’s open to sharing ideas with other teachers and other districts.
“I would love to talk with other teachers and get different ideas and different ways of getting knowledge to students,” Wicklund said.
Third-grade teacher Angela Skauge said the iPads give her some spontaneity. If the class is talking about layers of the Earth and volcanos, students can quickly find a video online of a volcano erupting.
“It’s instantaneous.” said Skauge, who teaches at Northpoint Elementary in the Spring Lake Park district.
It’s changed how students present their findings and reports. Students are using iMovie to edit and present photos, text and video.
“They can be very creative with how they show information,” she said.
She too welcomes joining forces with another district.
“It’s figuring out creative ways to use it in the classroom and see success with our students and prepare them for the real world,” Skauge said. “This will be their reality. They will need to collaborate.”
Shannon Prather • 612-673-4804