There’s an app for Fridley Schools
District 14 finds new uses for iPads in, and beyond, the classroom
What’s for lunch tomorrow at my students’ school? What’s coming up on the District 14 calendar? Will school be canceled due to bad weather today?
With a tap of a finger, students and parents can get the answers to their questions with the new Fridley School District app, now available for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch via the Apple applications online store.
“It’s ideal for a parent to find out about an activity,” Kathy Kraemer, K-12 technology integration coordinator for the school district, told the School Board at its Oct. 16 meeting.
Kraemer participated in a presentation at the meeting, where she and two other teachers highlighted the iPad and its new uses for Fridley Schools.
“We’re like the second (district) in Minnesota (to have an app like this),” she said, adding that Inver Grove Heights Schools has an app, as well. “We’re really far ahead with the app.”
It’s free to download and free to use, featuring event calendars, a staff directory, pictures, notifications, menus, links to resources and other district information, Kraemer said.
The app, called “Fridley Public Schools,” became available Sept. 26.
Find the app in the Apple online store with a keyword search for “Fridley” or visit this shortcut link: http://goo.gl/GqtZm.
iPads in class
During the October Fridley School Board work session, Fridley High School music teacher Michael Pearson pulls out his saxophone, gets ready, taps the iPad a couple times and waits.
“One… Two… One, two, three, four,” comes a voice from the iPad, followed immediately by music – “Straight, No Chaser” by Thelonious Monk – and Pearson plays along on his instrument.
With iPads in the music room, he said, students have access to metronomes, tuners, music tracks and sheet music.
“It gives students the ability to go in and have thousands of pieces of music at their fingertips,” Pearson said.
In his class, students are researching the life and times of composers, what life was like in their youth, what politics, conflicts and relationships influenced them, and then make connections to the music.
Students are also taking apart music pieces’ scores and analyzing it on a closer level.
With all this information, students are able to assemble their own textbook on the iPad; but it’s more than text. The book has interactive features, audio, video and images.
“Basically, everything that we want written papers to be and everything a PowerPoint couldn’t quite be. I really believe in this technology,” Pearson said.
Jason Olson, a Fridley High School special education teacher, also praised the iPad for its qualities.
“This isn’t some magical tool … With time to learn how to use it, you can transform how your class works,” Olson said.
He said his class uses almost no paper, which saves him time with the copy machine, giving him more time to plan for class.
It also helps those students who struggle to keep organized because they don’t have to keep track of a piece of paper. If they have it on an iPad, Olson can send it to the students, the students can send it back, and there’s no chance to lose their homework because it’s saved on the iPad.
“Books on the iPad do more than a book in real life in many ways,” Olson said.
With a tap of a finger, students can receive a definition for a word in the text without interrupting the teacher, or they can highlight texts without actually leaving permanent marks in the text. Map programs on the iPad let the students see the street-level view of a book’s setting to help them make connections to the reading.
Students can also participate in real-time quizzes, so that answers are projected in a chart as they come in. This communicates to the teacher how they’re doing at the moment they answer, rather than handing out a quiz and grading it later, then following up on any missed answers another day.
“It’s been a wonderful tool for my classroom,” Olson said.