iPads bringing Apps to AP classes

FLINT TWP. —The global birth announcement of the 7 billionth person a few weeks ago meant more than a milestone to Carman-Ainsworth Advanced Placement teacher Michael Stewart.

For him, it was a World History lesson he could share with his students, thanks to a National Geographic App he found online using his new iPad computer.

Stewart was among the teachers of Advanced Placement (AP) courses at Carman-Ainsworth High School who received the iPads and training this summer to help them find and implement classroom uses for the state-of-the-art devices.

“I am in the looking stage,” Stewart reported to the Board of Education in a recent presentation with two other AP teachers. “I have used the iPad once in my classroom. There is bunch of stuff I want to do.”

Stewart also reported on behalf of AP psychology teacher Phil Dupuis that he has been using his iPad to access case studies online and also a neuroscience APP that allows you to manipulate the brain.

AP Chemistry teacher Avideh Lotfi said she also has not used the iPad extensively in her classroom yet but has looked at Apps for formula and molecular writing. An advantage of having the iPad is the impact of introducing students to technology that will become increasingly common in the next few years, she said.

She also is looking forward to joining forces with Nicholas Kingsley, a chemistry professor at the University of Michigan-Flint who is touted as a wizard of chemistry Apps doing “some cool things.” Lotfi is paired with Kingsley in a co-teaching program launched this year between CAHS teachers and UMFlint professors who teach the same subjects.

Julie Lawrence, who teaches AP biology, said she has used her iPad in class four or five times including taking practice tests and accessing online demonstrations and lectures.

One of her students using an iPad liked being able to review materials as often as needed.

“You can rewind it and watch it again; I can’t pause Mrs. Lawrence,” that student said.

Other students said having access to iPads made them feel special and like “they were in college.’’

A bonus benefit of having iPads in the classroom is that it piques the interest of non-AP students and might inspire more of them to enroll in AP classes, Lawrence said.

Superintendent Bill Haley called the iPads “game changers.”

“We have to take our instruction to the next level,” he said. “We want to build from here. I certainly appreciate the (technology) pioneers at the high school,”

Assistant superintendent of instruction, Steve Tunnicliff, said a primary goal of giving iPads to the AP teachers is to move beyond rote memorization learning and also to test ways the tools might be used in regular classrooms.

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