IMS has distributed 15 iPads to faculty and is preparing dozens more for ninth graders to use at the start of school.

Through thoughtful investigation as a part of the school’s integration of 21st century skills into the curriculum, Indian Mountain School has established a Ninth Grade iPad Pilot Program to be launched at the opening of school this coming fall. As a part of this program, ninth grade students will have nearly all of their course content either on or available through their own iPad, set up and distributed by the school. Students will also use pre-loaded apps to create their own content by taking notes, writing papers, and even producing photographs, videos, audio and art. All this new technology will arrive at a cost nearly the same as the textbooks, notebooks, paper and other materials purchased by ninth graders in the past.

The provided course content will include e-textbooks designed specifically for the iPad by leading textbook companies, as well as interactive material created by the course teachers using Apple’s iBook Author program. Content will also be made available through links to the Internet and in class using interactive Smartboards and other means to deliver information.

Apps, pre-loaded by the school, will allow students to take class notes both by typing or writing by hand. An office suite and other apps will provide the ability to practice web-diagramming, outlining and other pre-writing skills, manipulate PDFs, write papers, and complete other homework. (An added benefit of all this electronic transfer of work is the reduction in the amount of paper exchanging hands). Students will have electronic planners on their iPads to track their assignments and will be able to create flashcards and other study tools.

One of the most exciting things that adding iPads to a classroom brings is the ability to make use of its multimedia capabilities. Whether it is biology students making a video recording of the results of a field experiment, or musicians tuning their instruments, or history students recording the debate during their Middle East Summit, teachers and students will be able to engage with their material in a new and expansive way. We all look forward to the classroom innovations the iPads will spark!

The school is excited to take this step forward using such a compelling device as the iPad to enhance the teaching of skills and content that are already a critical part of the ninth grade program. Adding the vital 21st century skill set inherent in using such a technology in the classroom will only better prepare our ninth graders for the world beyond Indian Mountain.