Teachers go back to school for iPad training

Bellwood-Antis teachers attended a three-day training session at Myers


Kaelynn Behrens

High school principal Mr. Richard Schreier and Superintendent Dr. Thomas McInroy took in three days of iPad training recently.

Kaelynn Behrens, Staff writer

On September 20, 21, and the 22 a group of BAHS teachers and students were at Myers Elementary School learning all about how to navigate through iPads.

The Bellwood-Antis School District has put $500,000 down to purchase a four-year lease on iPads for every single student in the district. Students will receive their iPads on October 17.

Tina Hollen and Ali Dumin were two members of the student SWAT team that attended iPad training.
Kaelynn Behrens
Tina Hollen and Ali Dumin were two members of the student SWAT team that attended iPad training.

The Bellwood-Antis School District organized a group of teachers and students to help get the iPad initiative off the ground. The teachers, known at the Vangaurd Team, included Susan Nycum, middle school teacher, Kerry Naylor, high school teacher, Kylie Longo-McGarvey, elementary school teacher, Jamie Forshey, Tech Coordinator, Richard Schrier, High School Principal, Terri Harpster, Elementary School Principal, Don Wagner, Middle School Principal, and Dr. Thomas McInroy, BASD Superintendent.

The students, known as the SWAT Team, included Corey Johnston, Blake Johnston, Tina Hollen, Shayla Branstetter, Quinton Nelson, Ali Dumin, Bailey Kudlaweic, Ben Martin, Aubree Reiter, Alex Hale, and Kermit Foor. They came in over the summer for summer and also trained last week.

Tim Yenca, an Apple representative, traveled from the Eanes School District in Austin, Texas, where he is the district’s technology administrator, to teach for three days about how technology can change education.  Mr. Yenca has pored over educational apps and platforms for student and teacher work.

Mr. Yenca said that with technology evolving, everyone, including school districts, has to try it and see how it affects everyday life.

On day one of the training, teachers learned how to become a power user of iPads for learning and teaching. They learned how to personalize iPad settings and built-in apps for learning and teaching. Also, BASD teachers learned how to identify and explore the powerful features of their iPad.

On day two of the training, Mr. Yenca taught about how to use productivity and creativity tools on the iPads. Teachers learned how to plan, edit, and create movies that tell a story. They also learned how to develop strategies to share, collaborate, personalize learning, and how to identify the unique strengths of Keynote, Pages, Garageband, and iMovie for learning and teaching.

On day three of the training, teachers experienced how to use iTunes U Course Manager Workflow for teaching and learning. Mr. Yenca taught how to use iTunes U courses to enhance learning experiences, explore workflow options on the iPad, understand how to organize and publish content using iTunes U Course Manager, and experience iTunes U courses from the perspective of a course participant.

“You just have to try things and test them out,” said Mr. Yenca.

You just have to try things and test them out.”

— Tim Yenca

Another aspect that Mr. Yenca mentioned was making the technology “standard for everyone to access,” thus providing a parent-child connection.

“For me as a principal, it’s all about teacher leadership,” said Ms. Harpster.

The overall goal for the iPad initiative, according to Mrs. Harpster, is for students to become producers and not just consumers. It’s also for teachers to learn how to use it as a tool, not just as a substitute, but to give  students more control and ownership over their education. iPads can be used as tools for the students to produce work and  use their own imagination to create.  Before iPads , she said, students were only able to produce so much and they were mostly consumers.

“The goal is for teachers to learn how to use this as a tool for teaching and learning,” said Ms. Forshey.

The iPad initiative meets other goals as well, the teachers said.

One is to allow students to  be creators, which falls in line with the new makerspaces at Myers.

“We want to put the students in positions where they have the opportunities to create,” said Mrs. Harpster. “While they are doing that they are developing soft skills, like collaboration and communication.”

You would never give a kid a car without a license, so why would we give our students iPads without teaching them how to be responsible with it.”

— Mrs. Harpster

The faculty at BASD wants to make sure that the students are responsible with their technology, so the school will be offering a Digital Citizenship program to help the students understand what can be done with their iPads and how to use them appropriately.

“With students going into the work field after they leave us, they need to know one thing can affect your future,” said Mrs. Longo-McGarvey.

“You would never give a kid a car without a license, so why would we give our students iPads without teaching them how to be responsible with it,” said Harpster.

Three different classes in the High School, Middle School, and Elementary school will be piloting iPads this week so administrators can observe how they work in the classroom.

Teachers throughout BASD have paid close attention to the training and are excited to incorporate technology into their lessons.