Nelson Elementary teacher Margie Trovao says since she got the Templeton Family of Schools iPad cart, there's been a huge learning difference for all her kids - especially those with special needs.
Trovao says while she's always enjoyed technology, she wasn't always familiar with how it could be leveraged effectively in the classroom. That all changed with some recent mentorship from Zhi Su, one of the Vancouver School Board's technology mentors.
Working closely with Su, Trovao explored the iPad and the wide-range of multimedia apps available to teachers and students (Trovao's favorites include Comic Life, iMovie and iMotion). The result has been a digital renaissance in her classroom.
She says she's seen students' creativity blossom and their ability to focus markedly improve. For example after the students took in an opera performance of Naomi's Road they used the iPads to learn more about Japanese-Canadian internment and experienced a variety of photos and stories that brought the historical topic alive. She says that episode was particularly memorable because the kids sat for 45 min straight without saying a word.
"They were on task and engaged," she says.
She says the whole experience has wet her appetite for more technology - pronto.
"Not only is it new to me, but also for our staff," she says. "We want more of this sort of learning technology in our school, but one challenge is the resources we have available to us."
She says a key area she'd like to see more of is increased professional development to show teachers how they can refine their teaching methods to incorporate digital devices into their classrooms. That and more equipment.
Jennifer Scott, coordinator for Templeton Community School Teams says the funding to purchase the iPad cart that Travao and other teachers like her are using came from the Chinatown Rotary Club, which last year generously donated $15,000 to purchase the iPads.
"We really want to thank Roger Wong, Peter Woo, Johannes Weinmar and the rest of Chinatown Rotarians and their donors for making it possible for our kids to learn about technology in such a fun and engaging way," said Scott.
In the meantime, Trovao says she plans to continue to work with her students to unlock their learning potential with the high-tech devices.