Academy offers iNsight
By JUDY SHERARD
VICTORIA -- The Victoria USD 432 iPad Academy had to overcome a stumbling block at the outset Monday.
"We started the day with no Internet because of the storm last night," Superintendent Linda Kenne said. "We're happy for the storm, but it did knock out our Internet."
The outage proved to be temporary as Victoria High School Principal Stuart Moeckel soon had the system operating again.
"It was a little challenging to start our day," Kenne said.
Just more than 100 educators signed up for the training that began with a keynote address by Cyndi Danner-Kuhn, Kansas State University education technology integration coordinator.
"There aren't many places in western Kansas educators can get training," Kenne said.
The academy was full, and educators were turned away. Next year, the training probably will be offered on two days, she said.
"We feel that iPads are a game-changer in the classroom," Kenne said. "We think they will open up education. They have already for us, opened up education and made it exponentially more relevant to the students."
Two classes offering sessions covering a half dozen topics took place in the morning and two following the lunch break.
They covered a variety of subjects including iPads for the gym, social studies apps and administrative maintenance and insurance.
Brenda Dreiling, Victoria second-grade teacher, discussed using iPads in an elementary classroom in her session.
Victoria students in third grade and above have their own iPad, but "I only have four iPads in my classroom, so I'm going to give them ideas how to utilize four with however many students you have," Dreiling said.
Dreiling uses the iPads in centers where students work in groups, and there's computer time every day, so each child gets one day of 40 minutes per week.
"The kids love it," Dreiling said. "They probably know more than I do."
With the rapid advances in technology, it's important to keep up with what's happening, said Darlene Arnhold, a paraprofessional at Roosevelt Elementary School.
"We have to adapt the regular curriculum to our level of kiddos," Arnhold said.
Rhoda Urban led the "changing how we use technology" class.
"It's made our classroom more efficient, and it's the way our kids think," said Urban, who teaches seventh- and eighth-grade social studies, science and leadership. "It's easier for them than it is for us."
Urban said she offered a pencil to a seventh-grader who came to school without his backpack one day.
"He just kept looking at me. I realized he doesn't need that pencil. He's going to take notes on there (iPad). He's got the agenda on there. ... I realized he probably didn't need a pencil that much. It made me stop and realize how much things are changing."
Teresa Schulze's fifth- and sixth-grade science students at Eisenhower Elementary School in Norton use iPads, and she wanted to "learn new ways to utilize the iPad in my classroom."
"It's always important to be familiar with new technology and see what other people are doing," said Allen Park, Washington Elementary School principal. "We're excited to be here and bring it back to the school."