Technology in the Classroom
Technology is an integral part of every Barron Park classroom. In terms of hardware, each classroom has a SMART Board. Each student from grades 1-5 has their own dedicated iPad. In addition, there are Mac laptops and Chromebooks available.
More info about the following topics:
- 1:1 iPad Program
- Use of Schoology in the Classroom
- Use of Google Apps in the Classroom
- Digital Resources
1:1 iPad Program
What does 1:1 mean?
1:1 means that each student has his/her assigned iPad for class work. The iPad is not shared with another student.
Is this the first year for Barron Park for 1:1?
No, this will be the fifth year that we have 1:1 iPads schoolwide.
Can my student(s) download an app?
The iPad is a learning tool and teachers welcome great suggestions from students. The apps are installed through school accounts. Even if your student(s) wants a free app, he/she must check with his/her teacher for approval.
The iPad is a highly portable and versatile device with individualized educational apps and protocols for downloading already in place. We already had 1:1 iPads in fifth grade. To maintain consistency as well as based upon teacher and student input, we have been expanding upon the program.
Why do I need to sign an agreement?
The iPad technically belongs to the Palo Alto Unified School District. It is a learning tool for class work. Students are learning lifelong skills such as responsibility, care, appropriate use and independence by being assigned their own device. It is similar to any agreement one would be responsible for if one was using someone else's materials. That being said, we do realize that accidents do happen.
How are the iPads being used in the classroom?
The iPads are being used in a variety of ways in the classroom including but not restricted to: reading, writing, research, use of images across various subjects, use of videos across various subjects (both consuming and creating), coding (computer programming), explaining student work/thinking, as a reference tool for a dictionary, thesaurus, calculator and online databases.
How will having an iPad benefit my student(s)?
The iPad benefits the students immensely in terms of learning, but most importantly life skills in terms of digital etiquette and citizenship.
Can my student bring his/her iPad home?
Yes, for grades 1 through 4 but each teacher will decide when to send the iPads home. Please ensure that you have Wi-fi set up. If not, please contact your student’s teacher or Heather Cleland.
Does my student have to bring the iPad home?
No, students are not required to bring an iPad home; you may let your child’s teacher know you would like to opt-out of the take-home program. However, the students do use the iPads as their Master Notebook as also a Reference Tool and you may want to discuss this with your student(s) before making the decision. If you do choose to not let your student(s) bring the iPad home, please ensure that he/she has a device at home with internet access for the tools specified by his/her teacher for homework.
What are the apps being used in the classroom?
The most frequently used apps are: the camera, Dictionary, Calculator, RAZ Kids, BrainPOP (various versions), Schoology, Google Drive, Explain Everything, Green Screen & iMovie, Tynker, Blockly, Spelling City. In addition, other creative apps such as Doodlecast Pro, Sock Puppets, Beedocs Timeline, Stop Motion animator, Koma Koma, Khan Academy and more are used. There may be apps that change through the course of the year. Please keep in mind that the focus is not on the apps as much on the learning objectives.
How can I help support my student at home?
You can support your student at home by setting ground rules and expectations with regards his/her use of digital devices. It is not wrong to play educational games on the iPads. However, reading is the most critical, followed by explaining their thinking through creative ways. There needs to be a healthy balance of screen and non-screen time.
What if my student already has an iPad at home?
This year, we are not implementing the BYOD program(Bring Your Own Device). However, this is something that we are looking into implementing and will send out a survey later in the year.
How will Barron Park ensure student appropriate use of iPads?
Each teacher along with Rusty Tooley, the teacher librarian, and Heather Cleland, the Educational Technology TOSA, works with the students on a daily basis, guiding them with appropriate uses of the device. It is a community effort so the teachers would really appreciate your monitoring and following up at home, while maintaining a healthy trust level. Together, we will learn and have fun!
- Find more information on the 1:1 iPad Program Blog
Here’s what the students have to say about the 1:1 iPads (these responses are based upon student surveys in May 2015 of 4th and 5th graders who had their own iPads).
"I did't have to ask the adult all of things that I don't know."
"The translator was very cool and it helped me a lot in the beginning"
"My favorite aspect was to be responsible."
"The iPad is not too big and not too small. Also, my favorite aspect is the iPad can shut down quickly."
"My favorite aspect of having an iPad is that it gives me a chance for responsibility and freedom. Because I have to earn the right to take home an iPad and take care of it properly."
"Because we are able to access the world around us."
"Like I said iPads are amazing and and you can basically count on it for anything."
"1. I used it to search things on the web for our Social Studies assignments or whenever I needed to research something. (It is easier to quickly research it than to go to the textbook and find the topic and then read about it.)
2. I used it for educational and helpful apps like Explain Everything, Splash Math, Khan Academy, (it is easier than going on the web), Math Mateer, etc..
3. I used it for fun (but iPads can help you in different ways) like Comic Life, Paper 53, ChatterPix, etc.. My favorite part about having my own iPad 'was that I didn't need to run and get a computer and I could make it mine for a year."
Yes because it helped me a lot in research."
Use of Schoology in the Classroom
Schoology is a K-12 Learning Management System, used across PAUSD. Its use varies across various grade levels. Schoology is used for posting assignments, uploading media (iPad creations as well as pictures and videos that students capture), discussions on various topics from digital citizenship to classroom norms to current events and curricular topics amongst others, and for collaboration outside classroom walls. Please ensure that you create a parent account to access your student(s)’s course. For directions, refer to the Schoology help page
If you have additional questions, please contact Heather Cleland.
Use of Google Apps in the classroom
The primary app used is Google Docs. Students use Google Docs for writing, revising, publishing, collaborating, and getting feedback from their teacher. Students also use Google Drawing, Google Forms, and Google Slides — all within Google Drive.
There are tons of amazing digital resources to support learning across grade levels and across the curriculum. At Barron Park we use a variety of tools to support critical thinking, to build collaboration, and to provide opportunities for creation and sharing our learning with others. Every classroom is different in how these tools are used.
Below is a list of our favorite, most-often used tools. For many of them, a User ID and password is required. For safety reasons, we cannot publish them online. Please check with your student’s teacher or contact Heather Cleland for more information.
A favorite resource for all students, BrainPOP has over 1,000 short animated movies covering subjects including science, social studies, English, mathematics, and engineering. BrainPOP also includes games, quizzes, and other activities to support learning across the curriculum. It is also available in Spanish and French.
This guided reading program is for use at home and at school. Interactive books are leveled to ensure your child is reading books just right for them.
The ipad app gives students access to over 25,000 books, including fiction, non-fiction, STEM, biographies, graphic novels, and more. Available only at school, unless a home subscription is purchased (usually $7.99 a month). Books in Spanish are also available.
Used more in the upper grades (3-5), this resource provides students with current events, biographies, and primary sources. Students can set the level of reading for each article.
This is a great tool for students to use for research. It includes a citation builder as well as a timeline generator. Students can browse encyclopedia articles by subject or use advanced search tools to locate resources.
This website offers leveled reading of current events. It is an online newspaper for kids used in upper grades (4-5). It is usually updated daily with stories from the Associated Press.
Another great nonfiction reading tool that includes videos and games to support learning. Students can learn about animals and places around the world in a fun, interactive way.
K-5 students in PAUSD use Bridges for math instruction. The family section of this website provides more information about grade level units as well as links to math games to support learning.
This ipad app and website provides free expert-created content and resources for students to practice math concepts. Short lessons, in the form of Youtube videos, are organized by grade level. Khan Academy also offers lessons surrounding computer science and history.
A favorite tool to support learning to code through fun and self-guided games. Kodable breaks down computer science into the basic concepts kids need for a strong foundation. It offers materials focused on topics ranging from communication and social emotional learning to real world impact of computer science.
This website is our go-to site for 3D printing. Students can create, design, and make anything. It is a free online collection of software tools that help students think, create and make! Once their design is ready, we use a STL file to load into one of our 3D printers.
This ipad app is used in grades K-2 as a tool to create, share thinking, and document learning. Students use it to draw concepts, photograph important things happening in the classroom, and share their writing. Families are invited with a special code to view posts and share comments.
Again, this is a list of our favorites! Students and teachers use many other digital resources to extend and enrich learning.
For more information
Dedicated Educational Technology Specialist
Heather Cleland is the Educational Technology Specialist at Barron Park who helps integrate the array of technology with core curriculum across K-5. Given the ever changing technology landscape, a dedicated specialist helps teachers use the cutting edge technology in the classroom. Heather also teaches noontime coding programs to students and heads the Maker Studio.