Students in Howard County are ahead of the curve in digital learning.
Northwestern School Corp., Eastern Howard County School Corp. and Western Community School Corp. all have K-12 1:1 technology, which means one tablet per student. Taylor Community School Corp. offers 1:1 technology for grades four through 12, and Kokomo School Corp. is 1:1 at certain schools and grade levels.
Regardless of the number of devices available or the way they are used in classrooms, all schools have seen more individualized learning as a result of the access to technology.
“It’s improved that whole idea of individual learning,” said Kristen Bilkey, principal of Northwestern High School, which is in its first year with 1:1 technology.
NWHS senior Miranda Nelson uses her iPad for the majority of her class time. With a few touches on the screen, she showed off an app that lists students’ classes, their assignments for each class and also allows them to submit homework to the teacher.
Nelson uses flashcard apps to help her study, and she finds it helpful to take photos of her teachers’ in-class notes and then add her own explanations to them.
“I can’t always write it or draw it like they do,” she said, giving the example of diagrams in her trigonometry class. “There’s less misunderstanding than if I write something down wrong.”
NWHS English teacher Natalie Guest had her ninth-grade students break into small groups and brainstorm different ways to give presentations with their iPads on books they had read.
Dennis Bagley, technology director at Eastern schools, also has seen an increase in student creativity with the use iPads.
“I see a lot more collaborative work and a lot more student-oriented work going on,” he said. “In the past, a teacher would expect a three-page paper. Now, they’ll accept a paper, a slideshow, an iMovie and other forms that show students are learning.”