An Apple for students: McKay Creek uses iPads to share classwork
Her McKay Creek Elementary students may have been preparing to shoot videos, but Cindy Schimel wasn’t teaching an acting class.
“We need to get quiet on the set,” she urged her 33 third-grade students Monday.
They were using iPads to record 30-second presentations for a classroom blog to update their parents on what they were learning in school.
Schimel gave the class — divided into 11 groups — five minutes to prepare. Some read lines from pencil-scrawled, large ruled paper as their teammates grabbed one of the seven iPads from a table.
When they were ready, Siara Andrews, Jack Monkman and Kambree Baker gathered at a set that consisted of a stool and a black sheet draped over a filing cabinet.
“Hi, I am Jack, welcome to McKay,” Monkman read from a cue card held by Andrews.
“Today I am going to teach you how to use ...” he began, before pausing for dramatic effect and displaying his right palm, with the word “Edmodo” etched in black ink, to the iPad camera Baker held. Edmodo is a social learning network for students and teachers.
The group was making a video to explain how they used the application, or app, to write to pen pals in La Grande, Hermiston, North Powder, Echo, and Helix schools.
Each of Pendleton’s nine schools has at least one iPad, said Laura Miltenberger, curriculum instruction and assessment coordinator. McKay Creek Elementary has at least one in every classroom. In December a representative from Apple, the company that makes the iPad, is set to visit the school to observe how the teachers are using them in the classroom, according to principal Aimee VanNice.
Schimel uses iPods and iPads for every subject. Her students read sections of their writing assignments aloud and use iPods to record their work. They make quick response (QR) codes, a manually generated barcode. The codes are attached to their assignments so classmates can scan, listen and decide if they want to learn more.
“The students have increased their attention to their work so much more because they know that others are going to be seeing their work,” Schimel said. “It’s not just busy work, they really want their work to be the best.”
Angela Johnston uses an iPad app to help her special education students who struggle with expressing themselves. The program helps them identify their emotions so they can communicate how they feel.
Most of the schools’ iPads were purchased through grants and fundraisers. The school paid $3,100 for eight of them. Schimel purchased two additional iPads for her classroom with school funds, and fifth-grade teacher Susan Fisher-Alexander has applied for a Wildhorse Foundation grant for 30 more iPads for their classrooms.
Last fall, on a $9,800 federal grant, 14 teachers from the Pendleton School District attended iPad training with the Intermountain Education School District and received iPads for their classrooms, said Director of Business Services Michelle Jones.
To visit Schimel’s blog go to schimelnews.blogspot.com
This article originally appeared in the Oct. 29, 2012, edition of the East Oregonian and was written by reporter Chris Rizer with photo by EJ Harris. It has been posted to this web site with permission from the East Oregonian.