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Watchung Hills Teachers Integrating iPad, Technology Into Daily Lessons

New program uses tablet computers to relate core curriculum with creativity.

“The curriculum is moving to more of an electronic format. Within the next 10 years, books will be electronic.” That was the opinion of Michael D’Alessio, 13-year member, and now director of Mathematics and Instructional Technology at Watchung Hills Regional High School.

With the beginning of the school year at Watchung Hills, 60 teachers, representing the various departments, were recently presented with iPads, D’Alessio said. Recipients were selected because “they have a proclivity for using technology in the classroom,” he said.

The iPads, purchased out of unspent funds in the 2010-2011 school budget, provide many advantages. For teachers, they stimulate creativity in lesson planning and classroom activity.

They reach students on a level they really understand and relate to, technology. They provide a means of communication between teachers and students, teachers and parents, teachers and fellow teachers.

Watchung Hills Regional High School, like many other school systems around the country, is moving toward an Apple-based platform, a system whose software, D’Alessio says, has been found to be more friendly than other operating systems on the educational level. At Watchung Hills, iMac labs have already been created, and Apple laptops are in use; podcasts are a familiar feature in classrooms.

Teachers in every department have found iMac software to be “superbly designed,” D’Alessio says. They relate to the common core standards and promote creativity in the classroom.

Will the widespread use of computerized techniques such as the iPad detract from the human aspects of teaching? Not at all, claims D’Alessio. ”The human aspect of teaching can never be replaced. This will make the art of teaching more interesting, more challenging, to both students and teachers,” this one-time Teacher of the Year states.

D’Alessio says he’s happy that the staff, the administration and the Watchung Hills Regional Board of Education have embraced the iPad venture. After all, “It’s the future—and the present as well,” he adds “We have to make sure we’re there.”

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