Teaticket ambassadors building pride while learning
Technology is enhancing learning while opening up a new world for students at Teaticket Elementary School with its new Teaticket Community Ambassador Program.
Using 20 iPads in the school’s third- and fourth-grade classes, students are building school pride, engaging actively in learning, increasing leadership opportunities, and improving communication with fellow students, families, and the greater Falmouth community. The iPads, provided through a grant from the Falmouth Education Foundation, offer a 21st-Century way for students to complete traditional assignments, such as book reports, by sharing not only what they have learned, but also what has made the most impact. With the iPad, they are able to create a commercial, book talk, or slideshow using audio and video. Instead of simply writing sentences to illustrate the meaning of key words and passages, they can draw and narrate.
“It’s really a device to go deeper with your learning and not only do the work, but also explain it,” said art teacher Julie Duffany, who won the grant, and believes the iPad helps to reinforce classroom education by offering opportunities for creativity.
Fourth-grader Jack Collins agreed.
“I think the iPads have definitely helped us with our vocabulary and math through the Educreations apps,” he said.
The “Explain Everything” app allows students to communicate math reasoning and demonstrate mathematical processes. The lessons are posted on each teacher’s website, which is helpful for students learning the new Common Core math curriculum and parents who want to assist with homework, but are accustomed to a different way of learning.
Cora Zuwallack enjoys the Reflex Math app because it is a non-traditional way of processing facts.
“Instead of just solving a math problem, you’re actually playing a game,” she said. “It makes learning fun.”
Students also are using the iPads to access QR codes linked to presentations and demonstrations, which are posted online can be scanned in classrooms and at school-related events, such as the Falmouth Public Schools science fair and the Teaticket art show. They a glimpse of what’s happening in the classroom and also serve as an aid to students as they tackle new subjects.
The young ambassadors also create a virtual tour for students who will be transferring to the school, as a way to offer welcome and dispel anxiety, while also displaying their own school pride. Katie Shanahan is one of the students featured in the tour.
“I wanted new kids to feel comfortable. We put in a lot of pictures of the school, so they could see what it’s like here and wouldn’t feel nervous,” she said.
Mrs. Duffany added that videos provide an outlet for shy students who are reticent about presenting to their classmates, making them more accustomed to doing so.
Teaticket Principal Charles Jodoin underscored the impact of the grant.
“It is exciting to witness the enthusiasm of teachers, such as Julie, taking the initiative and time to seek grants. The Falmouth Education Foundation are partners in what we do to make teaching and learning of the highest caliber,” he said.
“This project is unique, as it incorporates so many media, such as art and technology. It has created positive excitement for our students, families, and the community.”
The Falmouth Education Foundation offers competitive grants to teachers across the school district so they can provide students enriching educational experiences not funded within the school budget. For more information, visit falmoutheducationfnd.org.
– By Sarah Murphy