LYND - The Lynd School continues to be an area leader in classroom technology, and teachers and students there are brimming with excitement as they explore the possibilities related to their recent arrival - new iPods and iPads.
The shipment of potential is the second and final installment of a Minnesota Department of Education grant for enhancing technology in the classroom, which Superintendent Bruce Houck originally wrote. The Lynd School received the award last December and began the integration of the first items in April.
"iPods are being used in all the K-eighth-grade classrooms as an extension to the curriculum," said Heather Fernholz, technology integration specialist at Lynd. "The new shipment of iPods have the capability to record video and take pictures, so teachers have another tool in the classroom. The iPods have really helped our students gain 21st century skills."
Photo by Jenny Kirk
Eighth-graders LaTroy Harden, Miguel Rodriguez, Josue Gonzalez and Refugio Rodriguez use new iPods — which were received as the final part of a technology enhancement grant — in their Lynd School classroom Thursday.
With an emphasis on voice-over and recording opportunities, recent distributions went to music, Title I, ESL (English as Second Language), special education and math. Fernholz tries to find lesson-appropriate applications (apps) and ideas for teachers.
"The math teacher will teach a lesson on fractions, for example, and then find an app that works with fractions," Fernholz said. "There are also calculators on the iPods. For music, you can actually play an instrument on them."
Martin Boucek, who teaches fifth- through eighth-grade social studies and science at Lynd, appreciates what the iPods can do for education in the classroom.
"It's been a nice addition," Boucek said. "There are a lot of useful things on the iPods, including a healthy selection of apps to enrich the curriculum."
The science department also received a large donation recently of a high-powered microscope and chemistry glass, in the form of beakers, cylinders, slides and jars, from Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM).
For social studies instruction, Boucek mostly uses the iPods for maps to locate certain areas. During enrichment time, the devices are used for vocabulary, grammar and comprehension improvement.
"It's pretty exciting what you can do with the iPods," Boucek said. "They can only make education much more beneficial."
The students - who quickly learn how to operate the devices - now have a number of challenging games available to them at their fingertips. While in Boucek's class, eighth-grader Payton Strand was playing a word game.
"I like word bubble," Strand said. "It's challenging."
Janiece Savage, who recently enrolled to Lynd, was surprised at the level of technological features at her new school.
"It's way different here," Savage said. "It's interesting and you get to play word-dropping games. It's a lot of fun."
Boucek said that some of the vocabulary games are extremely difficult and would not be suitable for younger students. But he's also found a really helpful application to foster learning for an ESL student.
"I have a student now that doesn't know any English," Boucek said. "I have elementary apps that we've been using to help him master that."
While there are so many features available to use in the classroom, Boucek especially likes having access to encyclopedias on the iPods.
"Now if a student has a question, they can use the encyclopedia and find out for the entire class," he said. "They don't even have to leave the classroom anymore."
Boucek was also one of two teachers to receive an iPad - which is like a big iPod - for the first installment. Now every teacher at Lynd has one. Boucek fumbled around learning all the functions and capabilities back then but now provides assistance and gives demonstrations to the other teachers receiving new devices.
"You can be in the back of the classroom and can control the SMARTBoard with the iPad," he said. "You can actually be out of the classroom and type a message to the class. There are a lot of options."
Another handy aspect is the connection between the classroom computer and iPad. Teachers can keep their computers running at school, go home and enter grades from there. They can also send commands to the copier or printer from home or tap into dragon dictation and start recording your voice.
Everyone will learn more at the professional development day on Jan. 17, when an Apple representative conducts a one-day training session for teachers.
"The staff are really excited to learn about other iPod features to accelerate learning for students," Fernholz said. "And, you can really see the excitement in the students, too. They're engaged in learning."