Brilliant Integration of the iPad

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disclosure: I am the Director of Educational Technology at Mulgrave.

This fall Mulgrave School in Vancouver, Canada, handed iPads to all the Grade 3 classes. Three weeks into the academic program and lead teachers on the project, Melanie Cannon and Shauna Ullman throw down one of the best uses of the iPad I’ve seen yet. Have a look at this Home Reading Clips post where Cannon exlpains how she has her students record themselves reading aloud–at home.:

This is brilliant work. I keep coming up with more reasons why I love this project:

  • The students are working in the safest of places–home (check out the clip with the student reading in his pajamas) so there’s no performance anxiety to mask real student ability. Indeed, Cannon and Ullman report a significant jump in overall engagement and intellectual risk-taking amongst the students after the introduction of the iPad.
  • The students are in control–they can shoot as many takes as they like and submit their best work.
  • They own their content and will be able to look back over their work whenever they like.
  • In a Digital-Learning-Farm-ish move, the students do the the heavy lifting, essentially doing their own record keeping. I think this will build ownership.
  • The teachers get a comprehensive video record of student development over the year which, as Cannon points out, will be far more valuable than a set of hurried notes take while the student is reading.
  • The activity makes classroom learning transparent to families.
  • The whole thing is so light; there’s nothing complciated here. Even a Grade 3 kid can do it!
  • It is teacher-generated, not committee- or department- or admin-generated. I think the best way to develop best practices in education is for admin and IT to creat a fertile ground for creativity and then give the teachers the opportunity–and responsibility–to innovate.

Cannon (@West_Coastal) and Ullman (@ShaunaUllman) and their students and families are on fire here. Their blogs–raw and honest–are worth following.


  1. I have a vision of our third graders sharing these, thirty years from now, with their own kids and talking about learning how to read!

  2. I’m sure it helps that Mulgrave is a private school with parents paying thousands of dollars in tuition. iPads are not exactly “handed” out, as you might think from reading the article. Fuller disclosure, please.

  3. Hi Mary,

    There is no argument here suggesting that there are no inequalities in education. But the problem is not confined to the public-private split. Apple reports some 600 public school districts across the US are “handing out” iPads, see I know of a number of Candadian schools public as well as private that are also rolling out iPad programs.

    In any case, I don’t think the availability of the iPad–or lack of it–should interfere with anyone developing good practices with it. Do you?


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