D300 studies plans to expand iPad use, some courses next school year
By Emily McFarlan Miller firstname.lastname@example.org @emmillerwrites October 8, 2013 12:06PM
Literacy teacher Sarah Sullivan demonstrates the use of an iPad to teach first-graders Dylan Eulert and Madison Gioe, both 6, in 2011 at Gilberts Elementary School in Gilberts. District 300 is looking at expanding the use of iPads in classrooms. | Sun-Ti
Updated: November 10, 2013 6:12AM
ALGONQUIN — Community Unit School District 300 is just a 1½ months into the new school year, but it already is time to start thinking about the next, according to Ben Churchill, assistant superintendent of teaching and learning for high school.
High school students will start meeting with their counselors this month, Churchill said, and the Carpentersville-area school district will start putting together its course catalog. Schools’ master schedules will be completed in January or February.
The district is looking at expanding some of its existing programs — including the use of iPads in the classroom, he told the District 300 Board of Education recently.
“We imagine a world in which every kid has an iPad. We don’t want to go too quickly. We’re taking a more slow approach,” he said.
Based on the success of a new robotics class this school year at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville, Churchill said District 300 plans to expand that class to Hampshire High School. It also plans add Robotics II to the schedule at the Carpentersville high school.
The district also plans to expand the video production class at Dundee-Crown to Jacobs High School in Algonquin and add Video Production II at the Carpentersville high school, the assistant superintendent said. The English department will expand its film criticism courses from one course to two, he said.
The Science Department is planning to start an earth and space science course it has not run before, he said. That will allow students who have difficulty with the level of math needed in chemistry and physics to continue taking science courses for a third year.
And it is planning to partner with ABC School of Cosmetology in Lake in the Hills to offer certificate programs for cosmeticians, nail technicians and aestheticians, based on student request, he said.
District 300 also is exploring expanding the use of iPads in the classroom. Right now, those are used in advanced placement human geography and AP macroeconomics, Churchill said. One is working on a project called “How to fix Detroit,” learning about the problems the Michigan city has faced over the last several years and Skyping with city leaders.
“That sort of real-world learning would be a lot more challenging without the iPads,” he said.
The district does not yet have a specific program in mind, he said. That’s something that will depend on teachers’ enthusiasm about using the technology, he said.
“I can imagine it being successful in just about any area,” Churchill said. “We’ll wait and see how excited teachers are and sort of make decisions there in an organic, teacher-focused way.”