iPads for the Classroom
Teaching students a second language is never an easy task. Language barriers, different learning styles or even getting students extra help when they need it are all common occurrences in the classroom. One way teachers are supplementing their classroom teaching is through the use of iPad apps. But with such a huge variety of apps available, it can be a struggle for teachers to find an app that suits their students' learning level and that keeps them engaged.
Paul-Emile Chiasson of UNBSJ recognized this problem last year, and made use of the iPad program on the Saint John campus to solve it. Chiasson created a course named "TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) for Classroom Teachers" and every student in the class was given an iPad for the duration of the course.
Students were given the goal of researching free apps that would be suitable for ESL programs. They developed criteria for rating apps and then gave the apps a score out of 100. They also stated whether the app would be suitable for elementary, middle school, high school, or post-secondary learners.
The top 10 apps were then chosen, and sent out to schools who had requested the findings. Principals and teachers both appreciated the time spent researching and ranking the apps. Even in cases where there were not enough iPads to supply the entire class, the apps were still relayed to students so they could take advantage of the apps at home.
To support this and other initiatives, UNBSJ has a handful of iPads which can be lent out to small classes for the duration of the semester. This lending program is ideal for pilots and to test the effectiveness of using this technology to enhance learning. Overall, apps such as these can be a useful way to accommodate different learning styles into a classroom, help students who may be struggling, and challenge keen students.