Modern classrooms are taking shape at one of Kansas City’s leading preparatory schools, with a surprisingly low price tag.
Pembroke Hill’s Director of Instructional Technology Brian Bartelli has developed a flagship education program based on what he saw other schools doing with multimedia tech, and more importantly, what they weren’t doing.
With some careful planning and allocation of Pembroke’s considerable resources, his program could become a leading example in KC classrooms and perhaps even businesses. “The iPad program is one of many unique opportunities provided to our students. I believe the way we use the iPad as an educational tool is what sets us apart,” Bartelli says. “Any school can issue iPads or other technology to students, but [we] spent the time training teachers to design curriculum which provides opportunities for students to learn in ways [previously] not possible.”
Bartelli considers the Pembroke Hill iPad program a success on three fronts.
Cost – While iPads aren’t exactly “cheap” the same student can use the device for multiple years, making it extremely competitive with traditional materials. “The cost of an iPad broken down over three years is relatively low,” Bartelli says. “We have adopted digital textbooks to be used on the iPad and these books are purchased at a significantly lower price than paper books.”
Collaboration – Pembroke considers the primary advantage of the iPad program to be how the devices encourage students to work together on assignments. All devices are set up to move messages, media and instruction instantly through carefully constructed Wi-Fi nodes. Bartelli says the iPad is simple for students to understand, but its true strength “allows students to not only consume material but also to create educational content through movie making, presentations, digital art and numerous other projects. The iPad proved to be the best tool because of its versatility in all disciplines.”
Control – Because every assignment the student works with stays on one device, Bartelli believes that his program makes it easier for parents to keep abreast of daily classroom performance. They don’t just have to wait for grades. “Parents were excited about the educational resources and organization the iPad offered but needed help managing the device at home,” says Bartelli. Pembroke Hill responded by creating scheduled presentations geared specifically for parents.
The Pembroke Hill administration considers Bartelli’s pilot program enough of a success that there are already plans being made to craft iPad-specific curriculum for a second group of students in high school classrooms.