Students and staff from Northwest Suburban High School District 214 hosted the first Mobile Computing Showcase this week to share their experiences with teachers and administrators from more than 30 districts around Illinois looking for the best ways to integrate new technology in the classroom.
District 214 for two years has been running pilot programs using tablet computers at all six of its high schools, and it has discussed the idea of someday having a tablet computer for each of the district's more than 12,000 students.
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The event Monday allowed more than 240 attendees to see firsthand how students are using tablet technology in the classroom, with nearly 20 different groups of students demonstrating their use of iPads, Motorola Xooms and Kindle Fires. Students showed how they use the tablets for everything from learning another language to getting in better shape.
"Our philosophy is that whatever we do with curriculum and technology must be student-focused," school board member Bill Dussling said.
Elk Grove High School student Thomas Ritondale showed how his AP Spanish class used iPads to watch videos, record themselves speaking in another language and send homework to their teacher.
Students can watch demonstrations of how to safely do new exercises or weight training on their devices during physical education classes and record their workouts.
The devices help students outside the classroom as well, as they explained during the showcase.
For example, when Richard Willhausen, a student at Rolling Meadows High School, was absent, he was able to watch his physics class via live streaming and not fall behind.
Jessica Arellano, a student at Wheeling High School, uses her iPad to do homework and college research any time of day or night.
"I don't have to worry about losing a sheet of paper because it's all right here," Arellano said.
In addition to the student showcase, teachers and administrators attended sessions ranging from lesson planning to using Google Apps.
"We're hoping we can learn from them and that they can see what works for us and learn something from that as well," District 214 Superintendent Dave Schuler said. "We want to encourage people to think creatively."