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Cuomo O’Donoghue, Tess, A Better Way of Learning?


Tess Cuomo O’Donoghue
Age: 14, Grade: 8

School Name: St Ignatius Loyola School, New York, NY
Educator: Aisling Clancy

Category: Journalism

A Better Way of Learning?

A Better Way of Learning?

    Imagine your school.  Now add iPads and computers in the classroom for you and the other kids at your school.  What do you get?  The result could be a completely new learning system.  Grammar schools across America have begun to use technological devices in the classroom in an attempt to bring education to a new level.  These schools give students permission to use the school’s devices or instruct parents to purchase them.  They believe the use of the devices could change learning completely.
    The first use of computers for education in schools was over 25 years ago.  Parents were told to buy computers for the students to use at school.  But things have changed much since then.   First of all, the style of the devices has changed.  At around that time, the first schools that started to use technology used old-fashioned computers.  Many grammar schools today use newer forms of technology.   Also, the use of the computers at schools in the 1990s was mostly focused on writing.  Schools today use tablets for multiple classroom activities.

How Are They Used?

     Students use iPads and computers to do everyday classroom activities such as taking notes.  With the devices, students who have trouble seeing the board can read the notes off of their computers or iPads.  Teachers can also post questions for the class to answer.  Then, the teachers can view the responses online.  Students can see videos, pictures, or notes the teachers post online at home as well.    
     Nearpod is one application used by many schools around the globe that attempts to provide a faster and easier learning method.  Teachers can post notes for the session on Nearpod and students can view them on individual devices.  Because of this, students can read the notes more clearly and can record them into a notebook at their own speeds.  Also, teachers can post questions along with the notes.  After students answer the questions on their devices, teachers can view the responses and see where students are struggling.  Then, each student has the benefit of quickly receiving individualized help and correction from the teacher.  This is an improvement from previous classroom systems because students can see their faults and reasons for confusion soon after completing their work.  Also, many students enjoy using Nearpod, which helps them remember the information better.  Educators have discovered that students who don’t usually participate much in class may participate more because they enjoy using Nearpod.
    St. Ignatius Loyola School, in New York City, started to use iPads for education in 2016. One eighth grade student there, Kristin O’Donoghue, says, “The introduction of iPads into the classroom environment has brought many changes to note taking, test taking, and learning in general.  I like the system because it allows each student to have his or her own tablet which makes for a greater one-to-one teaching method, especially with the use of Nearpod.”
    Tablets and computers are also used in classrooms to improve writing skills.  Many students, especially older kids, are faster typists than writers.  This may speed up writing assignments which leaves more time for learning with other activities.  Also, students may receive higher writing grades with the devices because their essays will be neater and easier to read.  Students may learn typing skills as well.  This could be preparation for future careers.

What For?      

    Why do grammar schools all across the country use iPads and computers for learning?  Many teachers and school leaders believe it will leave a big impact on students.  They believe students will learn about technology while continuing to focus on school subjects.  Studies show that kids remember information and pay more attention when they are having fun.  Computers and iPads may make learning more exciting.  Students may also learn responsibility while taking care of a device.  Schools could be saving trees all around the globe by reducing paper as well.  Technology could leave a big impression on student education.
    Mary Larkin, the principal at Saint Ignatius Loyola Grammar School, is determined to reach her technology goal for the children at the school.  Larkin says, “I want an iPad to be in the hands of all the students from the Kindergarten through the eighth grade within two to three years.  A part of that goal is for students to understand the correct use of technology.”
    A minority of educators disagree with Larkin and O’Donoghue.  They believe that the devices will distract students.  They also think that the new technology isn’t worth the money.  and won’t have a very big effect.
    Using devices in classrooms could change the world of learning.  Students may grow through their new knowledge of technology.  Classroom work may become more efficient.  Your school may decide to use devices in the classroom.  Your future in education could all depend on their decision.