Second in a series examining the use of technology in local schools.
At Oceanside Middle School, the excuse of choice is no longer “the dog ate my homework,” but “the iPad app deleted my homework.”
That’s because every student in the school now has an iPad to work on, not only in school, but at home as well.
That is the major feature of an “iPad Initiative” that began with a pilot program in two classes last year and has now gone school-wide.
There was a time early in September, however, when there was some doubt about the initiative was working the way it is designed to work.
“It was a hard few weeks,” said Jesse, a seventh grade student at the Oceanside Middle School, responding to questions from a Herald reporter who had joined the class in room 107 on Nov. 1. “Sometimes, when you went to delete something, everything disappeared. But that’s changed, and everything is working now.”
By everything, Jesse meant the ability to do activities on the device, to send work notes to other students and the teacher, to work in a group remotely and to receive work from the teachers even when they are not in her classroom.
Third year teacher Elizabeth Seidner demonstrated the seamless system.
She took a photo of an assignment she wanted the students to complete. She saved the photo and then moved it into Edmodo — a Facebook-like app that is used internally by the school. Every student in the classroom then went to the teacher’s Edmodo page and downloaded the assignment to their own Ipad. After completing their work, students emailed the assignment back to the teacher, who instantly had them in a folder on her iPad and could evaluate them and send the evaluation directly back to the individual student.
That is far from the days when a teacher handed out photocopied assignments to students during the period and then collected them at the end of the period for later evaluation.
Seidner, who teaches family and consumer sciences — a new name for home economics — said that, in the beginning, the technology was “overwhelming.”