West Essex Middle School Explores iPad as a Teaching-Learning Tool

February 25, 2013 at 4:00 AM

NORTH CALDWELL, NJ - Teachers in the West Essex Regional School District were invited to participate in a special iPad Pilot Program. Fifty-seven West Essex teachers volunteered to participate and are using the iPads in all curriculums in both schools.

According to West Essex Technology Coordinator Debra Martin, "A goal of the pilot program is to evaluate how the use of iPad technology as a teaching-learning tool affects student achievement. The teachers are being asked to become comfortable with the functionality of iPads as well as to evaluate and assess the potential impact of iPads in the classroom.

Across the country, educational facilities from grammar schools to colleges are experimenting with using all different types of modern technology as teaching tools.  The iPad is intended to be one way students can become engaged with subjects while interacting with their teachers.

West Essex Middle School Teacher Justin Schwindel said his experience with the iPad pilot program has been a very positive one. "There are so many great apps that have both helped me supplement my instruction and become a more productive educator," he said.

Teacher Justin Schwindel works on his iPad to prepare a lesson for a social studies class. Credit: Allison Freeman

According to Apple’s website, “iPad inspires creativity and hands-on learning with features you won’t find in any other educational tool, on a device that students really want to use. Powerful apps from the App Store like iTunes U and iBooks let students engage with content in interactive ways, find information in an instant, and access an entire library wherever they go. And now with iPad mini, even more students can get their hands on iPad. With engaging layouts, interactive images, 3D graphics, and more, a Multi-Touch textbook on iPad is one book students won’t want to put down.”

iPad displaying a science textbook.  Credit: Apple

The iPad has Wi-Fi internet connection built right in and the battery lasts up to 10 hours after charging. It currently comes in two sizes:

  • The original iPad
    9.5” long, 7” wide, 0.4” thick
    screen diagonally measures 9.7”
    weighs 1.4 pounds
    Current price: $499 to $929, depending upon storage space, and cellular phone capabilities
  • The iPad mini
    8” long, 5” wide, 0.3” thick
    screen diagonally measures 8”
    weighs 0.7 pounds
    Current price: $329 to $659, depending upon storage space, and cellular phone capabilities

"Through a review of the wealth of both content specific and general education apps, the teachers will develop detailed and engaging lesson plans," Martin said. "Once the teachers have become familiar with the iPad capabilities as a learning tool, class sets of iPads will be made available to further examine the impact of one on one technology in the classroom."

Teacher Justin Schwindel used his iPad to teach a lesson to seventh grader Julia Schmulewitz of North Caldwell. Credit: Allison Freeman

"I truly believe this to be a great educational tool and one that can assist both teachers and students across all disciplines,” commented Schwindel. “I’ve been able to do everything from showing students satellite images via Google Earth to assisting with research with the numerous databases available online. It’s also made the everyday administrative tasks like taking attendance and grading much less time consuming."

For further information:
West Essex Middle School
65 West Greenbrook Road
North Caldwell, NJ 07006
Facebook Page:  West Essex Regional School District

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