The Branson 1:1 iPad Program

In the winter and spring terms of 2010-11, Branson piloted iPads in several classes and participating faculty were enthusiastic about expanding the program to the whole school. The teachers commented on how much they appreciated the flexibility of the iPad and the seamlessness with which they incorporated it into their daily classroom routines. Student engagement and ingenuity in finding uses for the iPads created an atmosphere of shared, collaborative learning. The iPad is easy to incorporate into a lesson when appropriate, just as easy to turn off and put away when it’s not needed and, unlike a laptop, the iPad is unobtrusive – no hiding behind a screen. 

Because of the enthusiasm generated by these pilot programs, Branson decided to put an iPad in the hands of every teacher and student, beginning in the Fall term of 2011. In collaboration with our students, we believe we can build on our early successes and discover many more applications for the iPad in the classroom.

Case Study-Geometry

Using an app called Sketchpad Explorer, math teacher Jason Montana creates dynamic sketches that students can manipulate during geometry class on their iPads. ipad Through hands-on manipulation, students are able to discover various geometric properties and/or theorems much more easily than with static drawings. These brief explorations lead to meaningful discussions in which students can propose ideas and debate those suggested by others. As a result, students gain a deeper understanding of the concepts that allows for greater participation in future discussions. Click here to see these iPads in action

Case Study - American Literature

iPad in the classroom In the winter term of 2010-11, Dr. Susee Witt introduced the iPad to her American Literature II course, hoping to enhance the students' learning, encourage sharing and interaction among the students, and allow them to learn through doing rather than watching.
While in class, the students performed the following tasks on the iPad: 
  • Read shorter texts online, saving paper usually used for handouts
  • Browsed through a book of photographs of the Civil War to illustrate the readings
  • Viewed podcasts and video casts
  • Accessed a course wiki 
  • Researched authors, artists, historical figures, and textual references
  • Used Google Maps to situate the texts
  • Collaborated and commented on each other's work
From the teacher's perspective, the pilot was a great success.  Students shared more easily with the iPads than with laptops, and she was able to view these interactions without the barrier of a laptop screen.  Students looked up unfamiliar words from the text, and were fully engaged in all map and research exercises. Although the students needed a laptop or desktop computer at home for writing, the iPads more than met the students' computing needs in the classroom.  Overall, it was invaluable for each student to have a computing device in the classroom, leveling the playing field, and opening up the curriculum to new possibilities only available because every student had a device.
iPad in the Quad For the students, 83% stated that the iPad enhanced their learning:
  • "It inspired a more collaborative curriculum."
  • "It brought new multimedia options to class, like photos, clips, and movies."
  • "Since everyone had one, I think it brought our class together more, especially outside of class time."
  • "I could pull up things I had written on my laptop on my iPad in class, and I could then view it on my phone if I wanted.  In class it was nice to be able to access syllabi, notes, etc."
  • "I loved the visual aspect of it -- I am a visual learner and being able to pull my iPad out and do research/look at images was awesome."