“Look, I’m Learning” Documentary

A Story of Digital Learning Success. By David Goodrich.

Have you seen “Look! I’m Learning! — A Story of Digital Learning Success”? It’s a documentary about a technology pilot program that features a 1:1 iPad initiative and the impact it’s had on the students and community in Ludington, Michigan. I haven’t seen it yet, but I stumbled upon the trailer. This documentary became available for showings at your requested location in October of 2012.

The documentary’s production team interviewed a group of teachers that emphasized the importance of the immediate feedback that is provided in the interactive applications used with the iPads. The teachers spoke of the positive effects this has had on their classrooms. They’ve found the iPads to be valuable in the students’ small group work. In the past, students worked on worksheets that didn’t have that immediate feedback if the instructor was across the room working with another group or another student. The apps being used on the iPad helped to provide the immediate feedback for a formative learning experience that brings a great deal of value to the classroom when used in a thoughtful way.

They also talk about how the iPads were purchased for the students because so many didn’t have the means to get them for themselves. According to Cal DeKuiper, Superintendent of Ludington Area Schools, the beautiful lakeshore town of Ludington may be viewed as a well-off community, but there are 55% of students with free and reduced lunch.

This is a promotional trailer for the documentary that made me wonder about the challenges encountered when implementing this program, which I imagine are touched on in the full-length interviews of the documentary. Some of my questions were answered on their FAQs page on the site. It’s impressive that the “statewide assessment were about 6% higher than the district average and 6% higher than Amber’s average the year that she did not have iPads.” In regard to reading scores for Amber Elementary, they’ve been found to be “9% higher than the district average and about 16% higher than her average the year I did not have iPads.”

There’s also a report that says there’s only been one iPad that was damaged — due to being left on top of a car in the parking lot before it drove away. Oops. Still, this is truly remarkable that only one had been damaged. They even stopped insuring the devices because of how well they are taken care of by the students who, according to them, are not given enough credit.

I like that.

Anyone know of a showing happening somewhere near Lansing? Let me know! I’ll buy the popcorn.

David Goodrich (@rangerdavie) was an instructional designer for Michigan Virtual University through August 2014. He now works for the Learning Design and Technology department at Michigan State University. Originally published on February 11, 2014 at myblend.org.

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