On September 20, 650 sixth, seventh and eighth grade Conrad Ball Middle School students will bring home an iPad for their personal use at home and school. But today, 30 of their teachers spent hours preparing to transform their instruction to incorporate this innovative, mobile technology.
iPads are not new to the Conrad Ball staff. In fact, several ConBall teachers have had experience designing inquiry-based learning activities that harness the iPad’s learning potential during the last two school years. In the Thompson School District, all of the social studies classrooms in our 5 middle schools are equipped with 15 iPads that were purchased instead of traditional textbooks. Two years ago, this was a novel approach to an instructional materials adoption, but the results after one year saw student and teacher access and integration of technology double. Since that time, the iPad has been the fastest growing technology device being added to our district infrastructure.
Principal, Scott Elias, has been preparing for the Conrad Ball Middle School 1:1 iPad Project for most of the summer. Early June, members of the local Erion Foundation approached the Thompson School District with the idea of transforming the way we educate our students through the integration of iPad mobile devices. The generous funding from the Erion Foundation, $250,000 over five years, will provide every enrolled student at Conrad Ball Middle School with a district-owned iPad to use at school and take home during the school year.
On August 1, the Thompson School Board voted unanimously to approve the purchase of 650 iPads for this project.
The training was kicked off with the collegial facilitation of Lisette Casey, Instructional Technologist at Manitou Springs School District. Manitou began a 1:1 iPad project in their 5th-8th grade middle school last school year. It is important for ConBall to reach out to other schools and learn from their mistakes as well as their successes.
A lot of district support was on hand throughout the day as well. District support will continue to be active and present to ensure a positive and powerful implementation. Val Downing, Thompson Tech Integration Coordinator, Don Cochran, Apple Technology Specialist, and Marci Cochran, Elementary Music Teacher and Technology Innovator intend to provide a deep network of continued support throughout the school year. It is our intention as a district to learn from this innovative project and look for opportunities to transform learning across the district. Conrad Ball Instructional Technologist, Mike Dubas will provide much of the day-to-day onsite school support for the staff and students.