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Social Capital
Technology and the Human Touch
We are nearing the end of our second week of classes with students and teachers using iPads as a learning tool in classes. While there has certainly been a technology learning curve (as there always is when a new technology is introduced), Technology Director Jim Cox and his tech support team have done a tremendous job equipping classrooms and teachers with the necessary tools to make a smooth transition.

My classes have become increasingly comfortable using their iPads, and I have been thoroughly impressed with student desire to effectively use the tools they have at their disposal. Students are capturing screenshots of videos played in class, immediately sharing Haiku deck presentations through the Apple TV, and revolutionizing the way they take notes in class by incorporating audio, photos and video into their digital notebooks.

A visit to the Learning Skills Department Tuesday reinforced observations of my own students. As I walked down the hall of the third floor of the Fowler Learning Center, students actively read using their iPads and conversed with their learning specialist about how to best utilize this new tool based on their own learning styles. This may sound like an idealized description of life at a school with iPads, but was the scene Tuesday! 

Sure, not everyone is thrilled about this transition. Some students prefer to read a hard copy of a book and others' learning styles requires a more tactile experience. Any transition brings with it complications, but as a whole, the community is quickly seeing the benefits iPads provide to students and teachers in their quest to learn.  

The testimonials under the sidebar pictures are powerful because of the intersection of technology and human interaction. We firmly believe that no matter how influential a technology may be, its effective implementation can only occur in a community that values human relationship.

As this blog post discussed last year in preparation for the iPad program, our goals and priorities as an educational institution have not changed, we simply are thrilled to have yet another tool to use as we work toward these goals of graduating confident, self-aware citizens of the world.

Learning specialist Joan Saunders captured this thought when she said yesterday, “We are a school for learning how to be a human in the 21st century first. I like the blend of worlds, and the pop and color of technology is great, but problem solving, communication, and empathy, we have always taught this (with or without iPads). What sustains us is our work together - as humans - working to solve problems and to learn alongside one another.”

Our relationship with technology will most likely constantly be in flux, however, our relationship with each other will never change.
Normally a student who races to write things down (but always feels behind) and therefore struggles to truly listen to what the teacher has to say, Jackson has embraced Evernote in his British Literature class as it allows him to capture notes through multiple mediums that mesh well with his learning style.
Chemistry students report that they love their new iBook, as does chemistry teacher and soccer coach Ian Hamlet, who has seen a significant difference in student comprehension of complex chemical models due to the interactive nature of their new textbook. Explosions are always a big hit as well...
Learning specialist Lynn Cox commented, “This morning I showed a student how to access the mechanical voice on her iPad for both her history and biology books. She exclaimed, ‘I LOVE THIS!’. She is dyslexic and her reading rate is very slow, but this feature is transforming how she actively reads each night and will significantly improve her comprehension.”
Learning Specialist Annie MacKenzie noted, “While the iPads have involved a frustrating transition for some, my students have enjoyed using them for active reading, dictation and note-taking. Jaeger has used the ‘Stickie note’ feature on his various iBooks to define words and make notes for future reference, something he was very hesitant to do in the past.”