Royal Happenings: iPads turn classroom into true college experience

By Rod Janikula

The Watertown-Mayer 1-to-1 iPad initiative has taken the College in the Schools American History classes to the next level.

The difficulty before the iPads was trying to take a high school classroom and transform it into a college one, and the iPads have done this in a variety of ways.  The No. 1 way the iPads have done this is through communication between the teacher and student.  Every student has a school assigned email address, and I can email the students directly, from a school device to another school device.  Every day the students receive an email from me, with many attachments to help them with the lesson for the given day.

For papers, I am able to record and email the directions to the paper, and the students are able to listen to this over again in case they have any questions.  What has been outstanding is if a student is absent, they still receive the email and often times will email me from home if they have any questions.

Another great feature of the iPads is how they help the students with their hectic lives.  Almost every single one of my students is involved in some kind of school activity, and well over half work a job outside of school. The iPad has been instrumental in helping these students.

Many of the assignments that are given in the this class usually have midnight deadlines.  This allows students to work more on their own time, and we are not limited to class time in order to get our work done.  This is only achieved by the fact that the students turn in their work by emailing it to me and never have to print out a paper. This not only saves time, but saves resources for the student and school.

Recently, many students are taking the iPad use in the college classroom to the next level. They have recorded interviews with Vietnam Veterans, and have made wonderful films of the interviews, thus creating a wonderful primary resource.  Along with the videos, the students are able to record my lectures in class and can use them to study later on.  Overall, it is amazing how this small piece of technology has truly taken this College in the Schools class into a true college experience.

Rod Janikula is a College in the Schools American History Instructor