Photos by Melody Guyton Butts
LEFT: Sixth-grader Maggie Fitzpatrick works intently on her iPad in science class. Use of the iPads is incorporated into nearly every aspect of the Middle School curriculum. ABOVE: A few dozen sixth-graders join faculty, administrators and technology staff in celebrating Durham Academy's recognition as an Apple Distinguished School.
generation of iPads, essentially packing the power of a computer into the form of a book. The fact that it also had a touch-screen display and could go 10 hours on a single battery charge made it the perfect choice for classroom use. Teachers at every division wanted to test them out, including sixth-grade language arts teachers Patti Donnelly and Julie Williams. Patti and Julie were interested in using the iPads to promote collaboration between their students. Together with Karl Schaefer, we created a pilot program to test the use of iPads in the sixth grade. Patti and Julie evaluated numerous apps and digital books; Karl helped with problem-solving and training students; and I just tried to keep everything working as best I could. It was quite an exciting challenge, and we learned a lot about the best practices of using and deploying iPads through our pilot program. Julie and Patti became convinced that the iPads were fostering an environment
where students could take increased responsibility for their own learning. And they had plenty of evidence to back that up. They shared their findings with other teachers, with the DA Learning Environment Committee and with Ed Costello and Middle School Director Jon Meredith. Ultimately, it seemed that the digital backpack concept Ed had envisioned years ago was finally a reality in the form of the iPad. When the time came to roll out iPads to all Middle School students, Karl and Jon crafted a special opening day schedule designed to enlist the support of the entire Middle School community in making the roll-out process a success. The iPads were distributed in advisory classrooms, and each advisor led their students through the “iPad Passport,” a Google Site designed by Karl to guide students and teachers through everything they needed to know about their iPads. Of course, there was a lot of behindthe-scenes work required to ensure that first
day ran smoothly. DA’s technology team of Forrest Beck, Anne Benson and Shea Craig spent long hours throughout the summer installing WiFi access points, configuring hundreds of iPads and testing everything to make sure it worked. To learn more about our Middle School iPad program, please see the iBook we produced as part of our application to the Apple Distinguished Schools program. It has some illuminating video messages from Karl, Patti and Julie as well as Head of School Michael Ulku-Steiner and Jon Meredith. To access the iBook presentation, the iBooks app on either an iOS device (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch) or a Mac laptop/ desktop computer running OS X version 10.9 (“Mavericks”) is required. The text of the presentation (sans videos) is also available in PDF format. Look for a link to our iBook presentation on the DA website: www.da.org/ipad. I hope you will enjoy the presentation as much as we enjoyed creating it!
DURHAM ACADEMY RECORD | WINTER 2014 | WWW.DA.ORG
Published on Feb 26, 2014