Redstone Elementary recognized as Apple Distinguished School
One-to-one iPad program encourages personalized learning, collaboration
HIGHLANDS RANCH – A program that puts iPads in the hands of every “digital native” at Redstone Elementary has earned the school an Apple Distinguished School designation in recognition of its innovation, leadership, and educational excellence.
The school’s one-to-one iPad program allows students to better communicate, collaborate, critically think, and create using technology.
“We are preparing our kids for their future. These are skills that kids are going to need to learn and use moving forward,” explained Redstone Principal Laura Wilson.
The program was designed for the school’s “digital natives,” students who are tech savvy, because they have grown up in the age of computers and smart phones.
“We are in their world. This is their world,” Wilson said. She believes it is only natural that these students, be allowed to use the 21st Century tools that they use daily outside of school.
Students use iPads throughout their daily learning, whether they’re reading digital books, capturing their learning in the classroom or collaborating with classmates.
“It is a balance of technology integration,” explained Wilson. “Students are still writing on paper, reading books. Technology, however, has clearly afforded the ability for students to expand the arena of communication and critical thinking.”
The result has been astounding. The devices have really opened opportunities for personal differentiation in every student’s learning.
“In the past it was, ‘Wait for me, I’m the teacher.’ Now kids can move at their own pace and even focus the learning on areas they’re interested in,” Wilson said.
“This has created an opportunity for teachers to be very flexible and allows students to be in the driver’s seat by empowering them to demonstrate their learning in a more efficient, productive, and more creative ways,” Wilson added.
Digital books provide insightful animations, on-demand definitions and can make the story come alive for students who are just learning to read. iPads are also helpful to special needs students, because images and words can be enlarged for those that have impaired vision.
Wilson says the iPads also save a lot of time and effort. For instance, students are able to snap pictures of notes or diagrams from the whiteboard, rather than copying them.
Finally, parents are able, through the technology, to get glimpses of the daily activities and learning happening in Redstone’s classrooms.
“Sending their parents their writing and having their parents edit it during the day. Parents are engaged in the classroom during the day,” Wilson said.
The Distinguished School designation is a two-year recognition of these types of innovative efforts.
“We are pleased to be recognized for our high integration of technology into students’ learning,” Wilson said.
Apple recognizes outstanding schools and programs worldwide for innovation, leadership, and educational excellence.
Learn more at: https://www.apple.com/education/apple-distinguished-schools
The iPad program has been so successful that Redstone is now looking at expanding it, allowing students to bring the devices home.
In preparation the school has implemented new policies and are educating students and parents, before rolling out the project slowly.
“We are starting with Take Home Tuesdays,” Wilson said. “If you do a great job with Take Home Tuesdays, you might get to do Take Home Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
Wilson says a big part of the education campaign is on safety.
“I think we’ve done a phenomenal job of Digital Citizenship at school. Now we have to expand our education and we have to educate our students and parents about Digital Citizenship at home, to school, and back and forth,” Wilson said.
The Redstone staff is encouraging parents to open a dialog with their students about their expectations, including whether the same rules used at school will apply when they’re on the Internet at home.
“This is truly a reflection of the hard work of the Redstone Elementary staff, students and parents, as well as the school’s commitment to meet the needs and interests of their students. This exemplifies the very things that we hope to see at every DCSD school,” Douglas County Board of Education President Kevin Larsen said. “Principal Wilson and her team are teaching students with a model and tools that they feel best meet the needs of their school community.”
“Congratulations to the entire Redstone Elementary community for achieving this great honor,” Larsen added.
Learn more about Redstone Elementary at https://sites.google.com/a/dcsdk12.org/rse/