Over 80 staff members have visited other 1:1 schools and attended conferences in preparation for Northwestern's 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative. Below are some comments regarding their visits to schools around the state and Apple's headquarters in Chicago.
Visiting Garrett Elementary allowed me to see 1:1 in practice. I liked the small group approach that I saw in a 5th grade math class. It was the first time I felt "I can do this...I WANT to try this", instead of "how in the world is this ever going to work?"
Terry Moore - 6th Grade
The school visits were instrumental in the success of the 1:1 initiative. Educators needed to see how others implemented the rollout of their devices, including the challenges along the way. Using those lessons, we are able to avoid making the same mistakes others made.
Additionally, seeing teachers and students using iPads in ways we couldn't imagine was so important in convincing teachers that 1:1 is indeed possible and practical.
Ron Owings - Elementary Principal
I have visited Bluffton and Maconaquah Schools in our journey to 1:1 digital learning. What I liked about Bluffton was that the teachers were not demanded to use the 1:1 for everything, but were given the freedom to explore implementation on their own time line and at their own comfort level. After using a classroom set of I Pads and seeing what the 1:1 will provide for student access to content, I am excited and ready to launch my curriculum into the digital world!
Jeremy Leazenby Bruce - Middle School Science
I was able to go on all the school visits. I was struck the most with ALL of the different ways iPads were being used to enhance student learning. Across all grade levels, teachers were effectively integrating technology into their daily curriculum. I was also impressed with our staff members on the visits. Our teachers were continually finding and creating ways for the iPad to be used in their own classrooms. Our teachers came away with a much better grasp of a blended learning atmosphere.
Todd Miller - Technology Integration Specialist
After attending the visit to Danville High school, I really got excited for the possibilities of Northwestern going with the 1:1 ratio. We learned about the opportunities that I would be able to present current, up to date content about physical education and health to the students. I got super excited about the possibilities and opportunities of the students being able to work on the curriculum specific to their needs. It is really awesome that our school is going to do this next year and that our students will be able to get to experience it.
Robyn Whaley - Middle School Health and PE
I was most impressed by the fact that teachers were enthusiastically using the IPads and FaceTime for a chronically ill student and a chronically ill teacher to help them keep contact with students and learning. I enjoyed the enthusiasm of the students. Some students could barely contain themselves they were so excited to share information and apps with us! I appreciated the balanced approach put forth by the administration and the obvious support and involvement of the administration. I also appreciated the fact that they let the teachers 'warm-up' to the technology instead of turning their world upside down with the introduction of one device!
Darvenia Smith - Kindergarten
I went on the visit to Chicago. I thought the presentation they gave was very informative, and gave me several useful ideas for my classroom. I found that there was a lot more I could do with an iPad than I originally thought.
Scott Troyer - High School Math
The school visit I attended was at Eastern School Corporation. I really enjoyed watching the Kindergarteners during their App Time. They were using Apps to review addition and subtraction problems and other math related skills. I also enjoyed watching students using the app, Keynote to do vocabulary, or story reports The older grades used the QR code app to assign assignments, quizzes, etc., and PDF expert to do homework on and then email it back to the teacher. I also liked the fact that they used their SMARTboards to show previously recorded lessons that the teacher recorded off of the IPAD. They would use these in class or share them between grade level classes, send home for homework, or send to a student that was absent. They used the IPADs with quiz.org, eduplace.com and Pearson Success.net to take a story test. I enjoyed looking at all of the different Apps they are using and have been trying some in my classroom.
Karalee Graves - Kindergarten
The teachers at Garrett Middle School were really helpful and informative. The kids seemed quite at ease with their technology and it was being used very efficiently in the math classroom. In the Social Studies classroom we saw a different application as the students watched videos and created skits and scripts for the unit they were studying.
The question and answer time with the teachers provided the most information of all. The teachers re-enforced the fact that the 1-2-1 technology does not replace your curriculum and they use other sources as well, textbooks, workbooks, and worksheets to teach their content area.
Diana Schaaf - 5th Grade
I visited Bluffton. They used 1 to 1 as a resource and as a teaching tool, not a replacement for textbooks. They had many apps that the students could explore to expand their learning. They also used these apps for reteaching and practice for concepts students were challenged by.
Dianne Taylor - 2nd Grade
My school visit to Bluffton Middle School was awesome! It was great to see how much all of the students were engaged in the classroom activities. I talked with a few 7th grade students in one classroom, and they said that their favorite part was being able to submit their homework electronically. Bluffton also made integrating iPad’s into the classroom teacher friendly. They offered training sessions for their teachers, and they did not force the teachers to throw out their old curriculum and fully adopt the iPad. Instead, they simply asked the teachers to integrate the iPad into their curriculum in some manner. As was very evident from my visit, that philosophy won the heart of most teachers. From creating an iMovie for a Social Studies project, to watching streaming video clips online for a Science class, the students and teachers seemed to really prefer the iPads over more traditional methods.
Mike Goodrich - Middle School Social Studies
I was able to visit 3 schools that had implemented one to one digital learning and discovered that we have many options for implementation at Northwestern. I feel that our process has allowed our staff to see the value in digital learning and has got them thinking about how we can use it at NHS.
Al Remaly - former High School Principal
I appreciated the comments gleaned from the team at Danville concerning how they approached iPads with the staff. For instance, the iPads were pitched as an "at will device" instead a mandatory device so that teachers could implement them when and where necessary and best. Seeing the iPads as an "ongoing" device and not a device to be used a "set number of times" was their approach as well.
Communication and training is an essential and important element in the successful implementation rollout of the iPads. Without this, their i:1 and our 1:1 would/will not be successful nor accepted. The effort can't be forced--must be led naturally.
The student support center will offer students a wonderful opportunity to earn credit in the field of technology AND hone important customer service skills including communication and interpersonal skills.
Dawn Johnston - High School Business/CTE
Danville used iPads. I like the fact that students could hear the teacher and watch a short video of the teachers re-working a problem like the homework problems. Each teacher also used the iPads in his/her own way and did not feel pressure to use them for everything. However, some teachers did.
Rachele Temme - Middle School Math
I visited Eastern and saw several middle school teachers using the iPad in different ways. It looked like it could be a useful tool - students were engaged and the apps seemed appropriate to the learning objectives. It was hard to tell whether or not the use was a creative and effective application of unique aspects of having iPads in the classroom. Overall, it didn't seem to be a problem to integrate iPads into instruction on some level.
Dave Inskeep - High School Science
I went on the one to one visit to Eastern middle school and it was very helpful. I think that some of the most helpful parts of the visit were talking to the students about what they thought and talking to one of the social studies teachers who creates his own QR codes and utilizes many apps in his classroom.
Angela Cannon - High School Art