With some of the biggest classroom technology upgrades taking place throughout the country, school districts are finding that it pays to invest in iPad training for teachers.
In the Twin Cities metro area, millions of dollars are spent to provide personalized technology to students and teachers. More than 40,000 students have daily access to internet through devices such as iPads and Chromebook laptops. The shift in technology is as revolutionary as the time that calculators replaced the slide rule.
Teachers have a tremendous variety of skill levels when it comes to utilizing the new technology. Some have already been integrating technology into their teachers, but others long for the days of pencil and paper.
To prepare, educators spent some of their summer working to train teachers how to lead the classroom of the future.
“It’s meeting teachers where they are at,” said Jim Beeler, who is leading efforts by the national group Digital Promise to redesign eight middle schools across the U.S. using technology. “It’s interesting to me that we talk about personalized learning for students. Shouldn’t we be doing the same for teachers?”
Critics of increasing classroom technology say there is little evidence that putting computers in every students’ hands will increase achievement. But Beeler says that in an increasingly digital world, teachers with the right training can use personalized lessons to lead students to deeper, more analytical thinking.
“We are moving toward the idea of teaching something we can’t Google,” he said.
In October, 20,000 students and 1,800 teachers in St. Paul Public Schools will start receiving iPads. By next year, St. Paul leaders plan to have an iPad for every student, easily making Minnesota’s second-largest school district the biggest iPad user in the state.
To get ready, St. Paul leaders held summer training sessions and will continue to offer professional development throughout the school year online, after classes and on weekends.