Teachers and Staff Report a Successful iPad Implementation

Posted Dec 25th, 2013 by Lindsay Williams  Category: Community Interest


Toledo School for the Arts has made the news time and time again for their high quality arts programming. Excellent Ratings and awards continue to be earned by the school in relation to their academic success. Now, with the advent of a facility expansion and immense technological upgrades, the school invites the public to learn more about a drastic new curriculum initiative.

In just a few short months this summer, teachers were challenged to overhaul classroom structure for a complete transition to iPads for this 2013-14 school year. The devices have replaced traditional textbooks, and allow for greater instruction flexibility and concept immersion across every subject the school offers.

The TSA staff wholeheartedly rose to the occasion, and has been pleased with the results. “The iPad has impacted my curriculum in many ways. I have been able to spend more time creating lesson plans and arts-based activities instead of making paper copies! I can view my assignments in a way that allows me to see exactly where each student is struggling or if many students are struggling and I need to reteach something,” explained junior division Social Studies instructor Melissa Prior of the changes she has experienced in the first semester using the devices. “I’ve been able to go much more in depth on many topics and have been able to give students much more realistic examples thanks to Apps from organizations like Google Earth, Smithsonian and more.”

When asked why the school chose to make the change, Principal Nick Mariano responded, “Handing the students an iPad isn’t about the iPad. The iPad is just a very compact, portable device that is rather user friendly. The real benefit to our students is the instant access to information and connection to teachers that the technology makes possible. We gave them all a tool that they can use to access information, create videos, record music, choreograph dances, rehearse lines, and create digital art. More importantly, we gave them greater access to their teacher and the content they need to be academically successful. We have begun to train this generation of students in a way that makes sense to them. The generation already has instant access to information via their smart phone. It only makes sense for education to catch up, and TSA has made it a priority to start teaching them using the tools that they are already growing up with.”

The tech upgrade has not only affected students at the school, but has also increased the parent’s ability to monitor their student’s progress as they can see assignments, lectures, notes and other resources, all online. “They can follow their student’s digital footprint to see if their student is on track- handing in homework, excelling or struggling, in any subject area. Parents now have a virtual window into their student’s classroom, providing them an opportunity to be more involved in their student’s education than ever before,” explained Mariano. The Principal understands first-hand how the iPad brings the classroom home, as his daughter attends TSA as a seventh grader.

The combination of those aforementioned aspects of this iPad implementation has made for improvements at the already highly achieving school. “I’ve seen a drastic increase in my students’ grades, which are currently the highest I’ve had in 8 years of teaching! Students are more accountable and check their grades so often that it almost gets overwhelming from a teacher standpoint! I’ve had students who are home sick still complete most of the material. They have truly taken an unprecedented ownership of their work!” exclaimed Prior of her classroom’s success with the technology.

Toledo School for the Arts is open to any Ohio student entering grades 6-12, and is a tuition-free arts-integrated learning environment. The school will begin taking applications for 2014-15 on January 6th. Enrollment is lottery based, and families wishing to know more are invited to a Saturday, January 11th Open House. The event begins at 10am. Enrollment Questions can be routed to 419-246-8732 x250.

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