The Oregon House Interim Committee on Education held a Salem hearing “Presentations on Utilizing Technology in the Classrooms” on 9/12/12. The first presentation about the Canby School District’s use of technology was titled “iPod Touch and iPad Mobility Program." Joe Morelock, Canby’s Director of Technology and Innovation, made most of the presentation with some additions from Renee Sinclair from Apple.
(1) As the graph above shows, since 2008, Canby has been expanding the use of iPods and iPads (with now over 3,000 devices for 4,800 students). As Morelock describes that growth, it began with a few students, then more, then a whole class, then multiple classes and grades. There has been a lot of experimentation, with a high tolerance for failures. As standardized tests show, student using the technology have made progress.
(2) Given the themes of this blog, I have a particular interest in the interaction of technology and foreign language learning. Morelock describes the following:
We have fifth graders in a dual language immersion school…. all in Spanish. Sometimes we have groups of people coming through, seeing what was happening in classrooms. And, without missing a beat, the students, whose presentations had been in Spanish, switched to English and did simultaneous translations while using the projector for the first time with their presentations. And they’re nine. It was an amazing moment.
(3) This blog has also promoted getting high speed broadband to students. Morelock testified:
We actually have an open network in our district. People come in, they can get on, they can go. It goes through our content filter, of course. We’ve made it as easy as possible for kids to get on our network. Because we didn’t want them on the Hockin’s home across the way, we want them on our network. So we have the biggest, best, fastest network we can get.
(4) The Canby School District awards $50,000 per year, usually in $2,000 mini grants, for research and development on the use of this technology to classroom teachers (innovation grants). Most are then required to report on their educational results. A list of their presentation can be found here and here.
(Full audio of Morelock’s testimony is available here)
Apart from Morelock’s presentation, there are lots of youtubes available on the educational uses of iPods and iPads. Here’s a sample of three: