“I made all of you look like scary zombies!” Messiah said, proudly holding his tablet up for the Powernet team to see.
Messiah is one of about 20 students in the fourth grade class at The Holy Family School located in East Price Hill. HFS has been educating students since 1884 and serves a growingly diverse student population. A portion of the school’s mission statement proclaims: “The staff integrates the best instructional practices to foster the gifts of all students, empowering them to meet the challenges of the future.”
Jim Herbe, the Technology Administrator at Holy Family School has brought a new instructional practice to fit into this mission. Herbe works with grades K-8 to introduce and nurture education through technology, more specifically, computers and tablets. The students are introduced to iPads when they are in kindergarten where they work more with applications. Once they reach the fourth grade, the students switch to tablets where they are using the technology as a learning tool.
Herbe told Powernet that one of the sets of the tablets Gift1 by Powernet donated went to the fourth grade and another set went to the sixth grade. This was the third week his fourth grade class had been working with the tablets. “Our first week was kind of getting them used to working on the tablets,” Herbe said. “The second week, we helped them get on the Internet and check their emails, then today, we went over the functions of the camera and video.”
Making the Tablets Count for each Subject
When Powernet met the fourth grade in their technology class, Herbe was teaching the basics of the camera and video functions on the tablets. Herbe patiently walked around the classroom with his face frozen on his tablet screen, demonstrating to his class the mechanics of taking a photo.
“What’s the first thing you see on the right side of the screen, beside your smiling faces?” Herbe asked the class.
After a couple of guesses, one of the students said, the zoom button. Herbe then asked what was that function of the feature and what other icons on the screen were used for. In this class, the students were not just learning how to use the camera on the tablet, they were learning the key features and tools of the applications then applying it to projects for other classes.
“Whatever I am trying to teach them in the technology class, I try and make it align with something they are doing in another class,” Herbe said. “Next week in art class, they are doing photography. Mrs. Diane Schoster will be showing them traditional photography, phone photography, and more.”
Bringing it all together through Technology
To get the students to gain as much information as possible through different forms of technology, Herbe rotates the tablets with chromebooks so students can use the most appropriate technology for each learning objective. If the students are working on multimedia projects, they are using the tablets because they have the best functionality for what they are working on, but if they are writing a paper, they switch to the chromebooks because it has the keyboard built in.
Though the students work hard on their projects and school work, the tablets are making the exercises more fun. When we asked a couple of students what their favorite part about the tablets were, Cincere answered, “the camera and the video!” Next to him, Merly sang, “the Internet!”
Herbe told us that by the end of fourth grade, they will know how to use Microsoft Office Suites. The quarters are broken up so the students are learning techniques that will build into their final projects, which is their ideal vacation destination. With this subject in mind, during the first quarter, Herbe is working on the presentation unit so they are learning Powerpoint, how to make and website and video editing. The second quarter is the math unit where the students learn how to use spreadsheets, a database, and they are continuing to work in their math sites. The third quarter is where they learn documents, meaning working on traditional essays and citations.
For this end-of-the-year project, the students in fourth through eighth grade will end up creating a 10 slide presentation, a 4-page website and a 2-3 minute infomercial on their vacation city.
Herbe told us that each grade reacts to using the tablets differently. “The eighth grade class is a little more reserved, the seventh grade is outgoing and so on, but the fourth grade class is very appreciative.”
It was clear to our team how much the students enjoyed the tablets by the laughter and pure enjoyment witnessed in Mr. Herbe’s fourth grade technology class. The students of Holy Family School have the ability to excel in academics through tablet technology in the classroom.