Igniting Innovation and Learning

by Donna Jessup
IgnitingInnovation1.pngIgniting Innovation and Learning is the welcome message that greets visitors of Cornelius Elementary School. Student work is displayed throughout the building but you may need a QR scanner on your smart phone to view it.

The staff and administration at Cornelius have dedicated hours of professional development to technology integration of iPads and other web-based resources and it is exemplified in the student displayed multimedia projects and classroom assignments.

IgnitingInnovation2.pngThe halls are lined with QR code scavenger hunts, bulletin boards and classroom projects. "We use a lot of QR codes here", states Mr. Brown, the school's technology associate. Mr. Brown assists teachers with generating the codes that link to student created work. I caught myself laughing aloud as I scanned and watched the student created book reviews using the iPad camera. Mrs. Lilley, the school's media specialist, facilitates the video reviews as well as uses the Big 6 research methods, QR codes and iPads to engage students in website evaluation.

IgnitingInnovation3.pngKindergarten students in Ms. Reed's class use their reading and technology skills for a community service project. Ms. Reed uses a flip camera to record students reading selected picture books then uploads the videos to Gaggle to be privately shared with the Cornelius families. The selected books with a special message are donated to a local charity

IgnitingInnovation4.pngIf you like music you will enjoy Mrs. Burn's music class. Students use iPad apps such as Shehnai to experience the trumpet like Indian instrument. They use Educreations to draw staff and notes and a metronome app to stay on beat while playing the various classroom instruments. The Rhythm Cat app tests their rhythm while ZampoƱa and GarageBand help them to learn chords and create their own music. Sometimes Mrs. Burns lets them play the game-based app, Mad Acorn to help with beat and rhythm. The students in this class have fun learning about music.

Students cannot throw an iPad but they can use an iMovie to record other students throwing a football. Mr. Smithwick, P.E. teacher, facilitates student created "how to" videos to demonstrate and evaluate physical skill and movement. Students also use the app, CoachMyVideo along with a rubric to critique each others performance. Mr. Smithwick has found ways to enhance students technology skills while focusing on their physical skills. His advice to other teachers is "Be creative and find what works for you."

IgnitingInnovation5.pngStudents in Ms. Hefner's third grade classroom become the teacher when they are challenged with teaching each other strategies for solving math word problems using the graphic organizer app, Popplet and the whiteboard app, Educreations. Ms. Hefner assigns english/language arts and math contracts titled, You be the Teacher, where students work collaboratively to teach each other. You can sense the enthusiasm for learning in this classroom. Ms. Hefner combines the large display and interactivity of the SMART Board, grant awarded iPads and district funded Gaggle to engage her students in creating and sharing content.
"What I love about this is that the kids have figured out how to incorporate the use of the iPads into other skills.They have gotten more creative. I have ignited innovation!"

What does walking and eating ice cream have to do with force and motion? Ask the students in Ms. East's fifth grade class who use iMovie to demonstrate their knowledge of science vocabulary. Students put words into action by recording each other in real life scenarios that explain science terminology. They also use iMovie in social studies to record the Patriots vs. Loyalist debate.

Staff and students at Cornelius are Igniting Innovation and Learning as they explore new ways to use iPads. Special area and classroom teachers collaborate to integrate technology while administration provides the guidance and support for success.