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But there has to be a purpose to how technology is used, Myers added. With the grant, the district encouraged teachers to actually change how they teach when using the devices. Instead of just replacing a work sheet with an iPad activity, the goal was to use the technology in innovative ways.
Harvey noted that a gifted class used iPads to have “face time” with their penpals in Colorado, something unimaginable without the devices, she said.
Teachers said that learning to use iPads took a lot of time, Myers said, with one stating that it was like being a first-year teacher all over again. But eventually, using iPads can also save teachers time, he noted.
Harvey said there’s been a palpable change in the district since the grant began, with more teachers excited to use technology, rather than afraid. Teachers who have iPads are sharing their experiences with other teachers, she said.
“It’s been exciting for me personally,” said Myers, who taught social studies in Lakeville for six years. “I see the attitudes changing.”
Looking to the future
Some of the methods used to measure student learning in the report included standardized test scores, like the MCA and MAP tests, district benchmarks and teacher-designed assessments. In other cases, students’ work samples were reviewed. Student and teacher comments were also included.
At the meeting, two board members said they wanted more student-achievement data, specifically comparing standardized test scores of classes using iPads with those that don’t have them.
“We need to have better data versus just what the teacher came up with,” board member Michelle Volk said.
Snyder said she understood the desire for more proof, but that she believed the teacher-led research provided a truthful picture.
On Tuesday, the district approved a technology plan providing laptops for all teachers next year. After a year of teachers being mobile, “we’re really going to be positioned well to look at [going] 1:1 or expanding the bring-your-own-device program we already have,” Snyder said.
Board member Jim Skelly said he was excited about the report and implementing technology further. “It feels like personal technology is a game changer in education.”
Erin Adler • 952-746-3283