Trial Period for Widespread iPad Use Begins

As part of a new iPad pilot initiative, 28 individual class sections will incorporate iPads into their curriculums during the 2013-2014 school year.

Last spring, the Dean of Studies Office requested proposals from teachers who wanted to join the iPad pilot. Of the teachers who applied, the Dean of Studies Office chose 21 to use iPads in their classes. Most of these are courses for Juniors, as these tend to be common class

“We got a lot of proposals and after considering all of them, we decided it would be smarter to focus on the 9th grade because when everyone comes in, there are a lot of common courses. So we figured out which of the 9th grade teachers wanted to use iPads,” said Trish Russell, Dean of Studies.

Sections of Biology 100, Chinese 100 and 110, History 100, Math 190, Spanish 110 and Russian 100 are the Junior classes that are participating in the iPad pilot. In total, there are 17 Junior class sections adding iPads to this year’s curriculum.

In addition to the Junior sections, there are 11 upperclassmen sections currently being taught with iPads.

At the end of this term, Russell plans to reevaluate the pilot in a discussion with department chairs and teachers. “Student input will be really important, but ultimately teachers will be the ones to decide whether or not the iPad pilot will develop into an iPad program,” said Russell.

Russell continued saying that it is too premature to say whether the school will end up requiring all students to own iPads. “If there are enough teachers who want to use iPads and incorporate them into their classrooms, it may make sense. But I don’t think we know enough yet. Through the course of this year, we will be looking at that,” said Russell.

However, Russell said that the school will not supply iPads to students beyond the pilot. The school does not supply textbooks for students unless they are on full financial aid. The same policy will be applied to iPads outside of pilot classes.

Victor Svec, Instructor and Chair of the Russian Department, introduced the first iPad program on campus in the fall of 2011. The voice recorder, video camera, note taking capability, and touchscreen keyboard are just a few of the things that motivated Svec to require his Russian 100 class to buy iPads, according to a previous article in The Phillipian.

A year later, Svec’s success inspired a small trial period of iPad courses. In the 2012-2013 school year, several Chemistry and Math courses worked with iPads. After the test period was over, Russell said that the faculty arranged a survey of all of the students who participated. “The data was promising, an early sign that we should continue the program [into this year],” said Russell.

Yasmine Allen, Instructor in Spanish, is using iPads in her two Spanish 110 sections.

In her classes, Allen is using an eText with complete iPad functionality, so the classes are able to do activities in class and complete homework assignments on the iPad. “For one activity, using the iPads, my students wrote a sentence, recorded the sentence and then shared it with me in an email. Within a matter of seconds, I am able to assess their speaking and listening skills,” said Allen.

Allen said that her students have also already done presentations on their iPads by sharing pictures of their likes and dislikes and explaining in Spanish. “I am always looking for ways to integrate technology in my classes, and the iPad is an excellent opportunity to do so in many different ways,” said Allen.

Jennifer Elliott ’94, Abbot Cluster Dean and Instructor in History and Social Sciences, is using iPads in her History 300 class, primarily to access an e-text. The e-text provides resources such as primary sources, electronic quizzes and review skills, according to Elliott.

Elliott and her students are also in the process of figuring out how to effectively exchange writing through the iPad. “I will be able to offer more direct feedback and will pass writing back so there isn’t such a delay and so it feels more like a collaborative process,” said Elliott.

Many of Andover’s peer schools are switching to iPads, according to Russell. “But what is different about the way Andover is doing it, is that in a lot of schools, the superintendent, principal, department chair or someone of high standing decides [the school is] doing this. Instead, we opened up the conversation to the whole faculty,” said Russell.

Russell said that Andover was able to add to the school’s iPad collection through the generosity of an anonymous benefactor. With the addition to the collection, there are enough iPads to cover the pilots in 9th grade classes and the History 300 classes.

Faculty using the iPad in their class during this school year include Patricia Russell, Keith Robinson, Frank Tipton, Christopher Jones, Nancy Lang, Corbin Lang, Yasmine Allen, Victor Svec, Elaine Crivelli, Jen Elliott, Kevin Cardozo, Paul Cernota, Cheena Hilton, Kassie Archambault, Michael McHugh, Li Cai-Hurteau, Brian Faulk and Lixia Ma.

Additional technological help with the iPad program was supplied by Michael Blake, David Mallick, Susan Alovisetti and Dominic Veneto, among others.