By Karen Billing
The use of iPads and other technology uses at R. Roger Rowe School are causing a spike in student engagement, according to a technology survey given to Rancho Santa Fe School District teachers. Seventy-nine percent of teachers reported they feel technology has had a high impact on student engagement and 21 percent feel it has had some impact. No teachers voted that the impact was minimal or none.
Cindy Schaub, RSF School District assistant superintendent, presented the results of the survey to the school board on March 6.
In the survey, 57 percent of teachers felt that technology has had a high impact on student learning and 43 percent voted that it has had some impact.
Students in grades kindergarten through fourth have access to 10 iPads and seven computers per classroom. Grades fifth through eighth have one-to-one iPad deployment and seven desktops per classroom.
The iPads are being used to access literature and e-books and as a tool for research, presentations and publishing. Schaub said the district has also continued to widen the range of classes and electives for enrichment in computer science, such as digital animation, graphic design using iMovie for the school’s Eagle News broadcasts, music production and writing commands for robots in the robotics program.
The iPads and SMART boards are the most used technology, followed in the rankings by document cameras, desktop computers, multimedia projectors and microphones.
YouTube is the most widely used resource, which Schaub said relates to the Common Core State Standards’ emphasis on multi-media sources.
Kindergarten through fifth grade teachers say what they need the most are literacy and math apps or software with progress monitoring. The survey showed they are also looking for fluency apps or software for reading and more e-books and digital content. Middle school teachers most need content area apps or software and multimedia apps that allow students to create and communicate.
The survey showed that some of the limitations with iPads are that sometimes they are less effective than a pencil and paper for certain tasks, there are concerns with cases and keyboards, it’s difficult to work with multiple apps and some sharing of information has been a problem.
From April 14 through May 16, students will be taking the new Common Core assessment test from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium — a 100 percent computer- based test as required by the new standards.
“It’s a penalty-free test and a test of our systems,” Schaub said, noting that the district’s systems are “good to go.”
While they are iPad-compatible, the test will likely be taken by students on desktop machines in the computer lab.
“The experience on the iPad is less efficient,” Schaub said.