By: Celine Pastrana, Contributing Writer
Mrs. Natalie Rhodes, first grade teacher at Chance Elementary School, has been teaching for 10 years. She loves to teach because it lets her be a part of a child’s learning experience, and she loves to help children reach their fullest potential. “I also love hearing and seeing their perspective on the world– it can be quite comical at times,” she commented when asked about her favorite part of teaching first grade.
Rhodes’ class uses technology, more specifically iPads, in the classroom on a regular basis. Rhodes explained that her students act positively toward the devices. She said, “They absolutely love the iPads! It allows them to work at their own pace, and they definitely stay focused the entire time. Since we only have four iPads, it’s not something they get tired of because they aren’t using it for every part of their day.” The students know the devices are tools for learning and use them well. They take the iPads seriously. Rhodes also added, “They show ownership of the devices, which makes classroom management easier when using the devices.”
Technology can be used for many reasons such as learning and communicating with others. Rhodes uses the technology to review topics the class has already covered by using a variety of apps, including 1st Grade Math, My Story, Todo Math and Razkids Reading. “It offers students an alternative to paper and pencil projects and often allows them to access things we don’t have in the classroom,” she said.
The future will rely greatly on technology because it is being used more and more in our world. Rhodes says the students will need to be able to use multiple tools and know what works the best for them when it comes to getting their work done. “Devices are tools just like many other things,” she said. “They [the iPads] are not a ‘teacher.’ With technology experiences implemented within their daily practice along with real-life/hands-on experiences, I think most students will be prepared for a world where technology and creativity will play a large role.”
Overall, Rhodes loves the experience the iPads give her students. “iPads can bring the world to your fingertips,” she said. “When dealing with some student backgrounds that limit them to world experiences, I always feel like it’s nice to have as many resources as possible. I find that devices make that happen. It’s nice to show and share with students the best ways to effectively use a device besides just ‘playing’ on it.”