Published 12/1/2012 in Local NewsTech helps students gather data for project on safety.
BY RACHAEL GRAY
Becky Malewitz/Telegram Kenneth Henderson Middle School science teacher Alex Koning records data taken by eighth-graders Caden Johnson, 13, and Mario Quinones, 14. Koning's physics class used iPads to survey drivers and gather data for a project addressing the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists on Fleming Street and Talley Trail.
Becky Malewitz/Telegram Kenneth Henderson Middle School eighth-grade students Melissa Adame, 14, Brenda Detvongsa, 13 and Jason Pineda hold signs along Fleming Street hoping to get drivers passing by to stop and take their survey.
Alex Koning can't imagine going back to teaching without technology.
And neither can the science teacher's students at Kenneth Henderson Middle School.
On Friday afternoon, students in Koning's eighth-grade physics class measured the speed of cars on Fleming Street.
They also surveyed drivers who pulled into the middle school parking lot.
The activities Friday afternoon were part of a much-larger month-and-a-half project that will address the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists on Fleming Street and Talley Trail.
The students will study momentum and what could happen to bicyclists if cars don't stop in crosswalks, depending on the speed of the car.
The students use Pasco software on the iPad, which features motion sensors.
Koning won a grant to do that, and was part of a statewide pilot program to see how iPads would increase educational content in the classroom.
Maribel Garcia, 13, said she uses the iPad to take photos and see how long it takes cars to get from one point to another. Using that information, she can determine the speed of the car.
"Yeah, it definitely helps with this experiment," she said.
Carlos Rodriguez, 14, offered his take on the experiment.
"We're stopping cars to survey drivers about their driving. We're also timing them and seeing if they wait for pedestrians," he said.
Ever Ramirez, 14, said the students are learning about science and safety.
"Drivers will tell you if they don't stop for pedestrians on the survey," he said.
Estreita Jacinto, 14, said the experiment may help people traveling on foot.
"It will help pedestrians cross. Sometimes they don't see when cars are coming, and the cars don't see them. It will be safer to cross the street," she said.
Koning said based on the findings of the class, which will be produced just before Christmas, the students will go before the Garden City Commission and ask that all pedestrian walkways be marked with more signage.
Koning said the iPads have increased educational content in the classroom.
"You can do so, so much more. They're not only learning physics but they're using technology and language arts. It's just a huge change," he said.
The type of curriculum associated with the iPads and technology will help prepare students for Common Core Standards tests, Koning said.
"It is Common Core. It's going deeper and challenging the students," he said. Koning also said he's excited about the shift from No Child Left Behind, the federal law that called for all students to be proficient in math and reading by 2014, to Common Core Standards.
Students in USD 457 are using technology to learn Common Core curriculum that includes higher-level thinking.
"We're going deeper, not wider. This gives us so much freedom. There's a real shift in education happening," he said.
Making the physics experiment into a real-life, hands-on project that may solve problems is beneficial to the students, Koning said.
"They love the fact that they can make a difference. There's a real reason they're learning this," he said.
Found 6 comment(s)!
Another GC Parent. I couldnt have said it better.
Posted by: GC on 12/12/2012
An iPad is not technology though. A monkey could use one. All you do is tap on a screen. These kids need to be taught real technology, or rather, real job skills. How about teaching them to be on time, treat others with respect, use proper grammar, or simply work hard? Doing that just takes good teachers, not millions of dollars in iPads.
Posted by: Another GC Parent on 12/11/2012
At least the iPads are being used for an educational purpose! Whether we like it or not, times are changing and technology is becoming a big part of all of our lives. I'm thankful that they are teaching students to use technology instead of just allowing it be a distraction to class work. My high schooler has yet to use their iPad for anything other than taking pictures and playing games at school!
Posted by: GC Parent on 12/10/2012
I'm not sure what they have to use an iPad for this project. A stop watch and a pair of eyes would work just fine at far less cost.
What a waste of tax payers money.
Posted by: Dave on 12/4/2012
Maybe instead of giving each high school student an iPad to play games on, the money could have more wisely been spent on classroom sets district-wide that could be used for neat projects like this! I know that iPads are being used in several middle school science classrooms, and I'm sure more teachers would use them as an educational tool if they had the chance!
Posted by: GC Parent on 12/2/2012
Haha, if you want to see how "useful" iPads are in the classroom, just head over to the high school. All those things have done is cause discipline problems and lower grades in the classroom. And if you want to see a waste of tax dollars, walk into the iPad office and look at the stack of broken iPads. Students are tearing them up! But of course, this is what we expect from USD #457 and their amazing ideas.
Posted by: GCHS Parent on 12/1/2012