Technology is changing the way students are learning math and language skills in the second grade classes at Sunset Heights School.
Near the end of last school year, Sunset received 25 iPod Touches from a grant through the Webster City Schools Foundation. The portable media players, about the size of a deck of cards, are loaded with interactive games and applications that students are using to practice math, spelling and other word games.
Providing students with a personal device gives them access to a variety of educational content. Studies show that students who have regular access to technology score higher in writing assignments, demonstrate improved analytical and problem-solving skills and tend to be more collaborative and engaged.
Through playing games and using other applications on the iPod Touches, the kids are learning valuable concepts and having fun at the same time.
“It’s amazing the number of students that have iTouches and iPads at home,” teacher Dawn Scholtens says. She expects that because many students are already familiar with these technologies and programs, the ideas she introduces to them will come easily.
The iPods are kept on a mobile cart that can store and charge the devices. It rotates throughout the five second grade classrooms.
Scholtens appreciates the fact that students are excited about using the gadgets, and are therefore more willing to put in practice time on various skills, because they’re more interactive and engaging.
“They like using them more than doing flashcards,” she says. “They’re not necessarily a quiet activity, but they’re very much on task when they’re using them.”
The students work together in groups with the devices, but can also use them individually or with ear buds to keep the sound to themselves.
“I like to do multiplication and division on it, because I’m just starting to learn that stuff,” says second grader C.J. Hisler.
“It helps me learn math,” adds Braeden Albrecht. Ryleigh Reiff likes doing math games on the iPods, but finds reading games especially entertaining.
“You can read to it, or it can read to you,” she says.