Beyond the projects produced, the
first class had the devices for six to
eight weeks while working on the
cutting-edge invention project and
prior to taking a standardized test that
assessed a variety of reading-related
skills. The results showed that these
students did especially well on the
portion on comprehending information text. Teachers also noticed
that these students showed more
confidence with the devices and the
content. Special needs and English
language learners participated equally
in the collaborative projects and in assisting with questions and issues that
arose. Additionally, all students from
the first class of fifth graders provided
peer coaching support to the two other fifth grade classes and teachers—a
valuable leadership experience.
Based on the results of this project,
Thomas Elementary School received
a second cart of devices and purchased
two additional carts of individual
computing devices, including one cart
of iPad 2s and one cart of netbooks.
During the 2011–12 school year, the
carts were used for instructional pur-
poses, such as improving math skills at
all grade levels; focusing on literature
studies related to fifth grade social
studies standards; improving reading
fluency, vocabulary, and comprehen-
sion skills in a fourth/fifth grade Eng-
lish language learner class; recording
interviews and photographing historic
buildings in downtown Flagstaff for a
research project conducted by a fourth
grade class; and teaching and improv-
ing reading skills in kindergarten and
first grade classes.
experience while maximizing their use
for a variety of other content areas.
Arizona academic standards: www.ade.state.
“The 50 Best Inventions of 2010,” Time:
Thomas Elementary inventions researched:
Zombies Out Teched website: https://sites.
Special thanks to Kamalene Nelson, Laurie Jeffers, and Annie Crego, the Thomas Elementary
School lead teachers on this project, and Heather
Zeigler, Brad Kamradt, and Mary Knight from
the Florida Unified School District Technology
Department, who provided the iPads as well as
technical and instructional support.
—Cynthia Conn, PhD, is a Title I technology
teacher at Thomas Elementary School in Flagstaff, Arizona, USA. She is also a senior lecturer
at Northern Arizona University, also in Flagstaff.
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