During a trial in the East Auburn Community School in Auburn, Maine, a group of students were “taught to read and write using an iPad” and “another group of students were taught the ‘old fashioned’ way, using a pen and paper, it was found that in every single literacy test, students using the iPad outperformed those who did not use the iPad by a significant margin” (TabTimes, February 2012).
Noting this story is important to the expanded view of student-centered education, especially in the context of the traditional classroom where this trial took place. These educators had the willingness to treat each new student as a new uncharted experience when they agreed to bring in the iPad trial. Sue Dorris, Principal at East Auburn Community Schools, said in the article that “the apps, which teach and reinforce fundamental literacy concepts and skills, are engaging, interactive and provide children with immediate feedback. What’s more, teachers can customize apps to match the instructional needs of each child, so students are able to learn successfully at their own pace.”
There are many cases where using technology is beneficial to individual learners, and we will look forward to exploring many more examples in future NISCE News. As Beth Banios, Superintendent at Sherwood Middle School in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts notes, as a result of their own iPad pilot program, “This is about collaboration, this is innovation. This is about student motivation and engagement and it’s inefficiencies. The ‘why is the most important thing here. The iPads are just the vehicle to get there,”(Worchester Telegram, February 2012). The application of technological advances to help students achieve their personal best, is something a student-centered educator can get excited about!