Cantwell-Sacred Heart Students Begin School Year With iPad Technology
By Anne Donofrio-Holter
El Monte, CA – Beginning this fall, all Cantwell-Sacred Heart of Mary High School (Montebello) freshmen and sophomores began using iPads instead of traditional textbooks.
“I am so excited that we are the first Catholic high school in the San Gabriel Valley to implement this technology in our school curriculum,” said Principal David Chambers. “We have made the school’s infrastructure capable of handling the highest capacity of internet use that our students require and the entire campus has Wi-Fi capability equipped to handle the entire student body, along with faculty and staff, with their needs in using the iPads.”
According to Edgar Salmingo, Jr., Director of Educational Technology, the implementation of the iPads has allowed for more flexibility in lesson planning.
“I have adopted the model of “flipping the classroom,” where students watch my video lectures for homework and during class we spend more time doing collaborative activities, interactive labs and engaging review games, the types of instruction that teachers and students both love,” he said. “Students have more time and options available to them to create media and demonstrate mastery. For example, my students created their own instructional videos covering advanced placement biology and calculus standards. All in all, it has made the learning process more fun for all involved.”
“Having the iPad makes everything easier, including homework,” said Brenda Rodriguez, 17. “Everything is online on one website and there is no fear of losing your papers. I feel like I am participating more since I have the examples right in front of me rather than on a wall 20 feet away.”
“The iPad takes away the shyness of raising your hand and embarrassing yourself in front of everyone. We have opportunities to share questions in class and have discussions online,” said Michael Freire, 17. “I am definitely learning more as I am able to watch video lectures at home and view PowerPoint presentations portably in class. It’s also reassuring not having to worry about forgetting a book or notes.”
“They know they are being held accountable and that their work is likely to be shown in class,” said Salmingo. “For example, to verify students have watched their homework video, they answer follow-up questions on the video and have the opportunity to ask their own questions if they do not understand something. The following day, I display all their responses on the projector to clear up any misunderstandings.
While initially some students missed the feel and read of a traditional textbook, most understand now that the textbook is no longer the sole authority for information.
“They can go to Google, Wikipedia, find related web apps or watch YouTube videos on the content gone over in class to enhance their learning rather than relying on just a textbook,” said Salmingo. “It also helps that the iPad is much lighter than carrying traditional textbooks around”.
While each student is responsible for the purchase of his or her iPad, the cost effectiveness of eBooks, in some cases, can be up to 30% less than traditional textbooks.
“In doing so, students can use their iPads to take exams and get their scores instantly, thus enhancing the learning process through immediate feedback,” he said. “Not only is the computer able to grade the exams but the exam questions can be randomized. This insures that each student takes a different exam making cheating more difficult. In regards to essays, the school subscribes to a service that scans student essays for plagiarism.”
“The iPad gives our teachers the ability to monitor how each individual student is doing on a quiz, while they are taking the quiz,” said Chambers. “Through the use of certain apps, everyone has a chance to participate and have their voice heard,” he said. “Normally in the classroom, time doesn’t permit everyone to participate and only the “loud” or “smart” students are heard. iPad technology and individual access to the web fixes that problem.”
“I feel like I am participating more because we have to make our own videos and blog posts online,” said Gonzales.
“The iPad is amazing,” said David Solorzano, 16. “It’s like texting, but for doing homework. It makes learning fun and adjusting to it was very easy. And, you don’t have to carry heavy books around in your backpack.”