We the People

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. Politics and civil commentary with community columnist John Eyster.

Wireless devices enrich and enhance learning with iPads at Milton Middle School

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John Eyster
Friday, September 21, 2012

Wireless devices enrich and enhance learning with iPads at Milton Middle School!

Wireless devices enrich and enhance learning with iPads at Milton Middle School. Be sure YOU read the feature front page article in today's Gazette, "Look what iLearned today: At Milton Middle School, every student, teacher gets an iPad"! Every student in every Middle and High School should have a wireless device for learning! What do YOU think?

The start of the school year was extra exciting for my grandson Jordan who is a 7th grader at Milton Middle School. WHY? He was highly motivated with anticipation of receiving his school iPad!

Jordan already knew how to use an iPad and even taught me to use our iPad. Jordan’s family had an iPad. My wife and I had an iPad. We had the benefit of our grandsons, Jordan (12) and Zak (8) as our iPad technical consultants teaching us how to use our iPad!

Do NOT miss reading the very informative and significant front page feature article, “Look what iLearned today: At Milton Middle School, every student, teacher gets an iPad" in today's Janesville Gazette! (I am not allowed to provide a link to the article. If you subscribe to the Gazette, you have access to the e-edition online. If not, you will have to buy a p-edition. Whichever, I urge that YOU not miss this very meaningful article describing the FUTURE of education!)

GRATITUDE & COMMENDATION to the Milton School Board and Administration for the outstanding leadership and management which allowed this 21st century upgrade of education at the middle school!

I note the article’s report on the ways in which the Middle School under the leadership of Principal Tim Schigur was able to creatively manage funds to provide for the purchase of the iPads. That kind of flexibility is NOT usual in such a bureaucracy! That puts the spotlight on the Board and Superintendent Dr. Michael S. Garrow demonstrating OUTstanding management and leadership.

The article appropriately identifies several persons who have been directly involved with the Middle School iPad project. Having heard from my grandson about some of the start-up experiences earlier this month with the tsunami-like wave of iPads going online at Milton Middle School, I am keenly aware of the special IMPORTANCE of the district’s Technology Director John Holt. So, SPECIAL GRATITUDE & COMMENTDATION to JOHN HOLT! No school district can manage such technology improvements without the kind of conscientious and committed work of a person like John!

The article provides valuable perspective on the developments going on in our Milton School District with John articulating the GOAL of the district to find ways to make wireless devices such as iPads more of a tool in the classrooms.

NO ONE knows what the technical developments will be over the next 6 – 8 – 10 months, so the planning for the next step with the high school depends on what comes out in future months. It is reassuring to learn in my phone conversation with John that there is keen awareness of the “techies” who are coming into the HS from the Middle School and even some who were part of a Beta project at Northside Intermediate School… they come to HS with 3 years of wireless device experience.

Consider the way John states it in the article, “it’s exciting to see at least one school embrace a new model in teaching in which the school day never really stops.” We all know, LEARNING never stops… this is the reality of the DIGITAL 21st century!

I am proud to be a long-time citizen of the School District of Milton. Both of our children attended Milton Schools K – high school graduation. They had excellent K-12 educational experiences. Our daughter is an attorney because of the OUTstanding commitment of the late Linda R. (Schroeder) Laumann through her 29 ˝ years teaching at Milton HS. She developed a LAW CLUB which regularly participated in the state-wide MOCK TRIAL program of the WI State Bar and won awards. Our daughter, Beth gained valuable experiences through LAW CLUB and participating in the MOCK TRIAL program. That motivated her to graduate from UW-Madison Law School. She is an active attorney.

The Milton School District has long provided OUTstanding educational programs. The move with the iPads is aligned with that commitment to excellence which the School Board has consistently supported. THANKS for the public service of our Milton School Board members!

Be sure you read this Gazette feature to understand the very significant ways the iPad enriches and enhances education. I have been involved with the virtual/online education movement since the 1990’s and more and more convinced that it is THE FUTURE! Among my virtual/online education experiences is teaching AP US Government & Politics for the “Wisconsin Virtual School” starting in 2000. WVS provides virtual/online courses to students through ALL school districts throughout WI. Use the link above to learn more about WVS.

Val Crofts, Social Studies Teacher at Milton HS and founder of Discovering Democracy, is one of the social studies teachers for WVS. He teaches AP US Government & Politics online.

There are distinct advantages and disadvantages with every educational situation, strategy, technique. Virtual/online education was frustrating to me because I did NOT have face-to-face interaction with the students. Students are really tested on their ability to manage their own learning when they take a virtual/online course. PROCRASTINATION is always a dangerous risk for all human beings and, I think, especially students. That risk is greater for students taking online/virtual courses. ALL students should be forewarned and thereby forearmed.

The benefit of the Milton Middle School iPad program is that there are the distinct benefits of the Internet to enrich learning and the electronic networking via WiFi complemented by the face-to-face environment. I would assert that the face-to-face is very significant for ALL learning! All human beings need encouragement and pressure; again, young persons need it the more. There is an important responsibility on the part of the educator to “kick butt” as part of the learning process. Online/virtual classes do NOT provide that direct discipline which 95% of children and youth (and, most likely, all human beings) NEED. What do YOU think from your own experience for self-discipline/self-motivation?

I am reassured by the article and my phone conversation with John Holt that the Milton District is moving with all deliberate speed to integrate wireless devices into the learning at Milton HS.

AND LET’S MAKE SURE THE DOORS ARE WIDE-OPEN in the college-university environments: There MUST be appropriate professional education for ALL instructors at the college-university level so they are PREPARED for the students coming from the school district of Milton and other 21st century school districts. I was shocked to hear an instructor in our UW system articulate his REFUSAL to use online/virtual resources in his classes. To my mind, that instructor needs to be appropriately disciplined so that he either moves into the 21st century educational world OR IS REMOVED from the UW system as an instructor. What do YOU think?

We live in a DIGITAL WORLD! This is the 21st century. In truth, THE WORLD IS FLAT! I agree with Thomas Friedman. If you have not read his outstanding, long best seller, “THE WORLD IS FLAT” (be sure you get latest edition), YOU should read it with all deliberate speed to tune-in with the 21st century. I KNOW it really did awaken me to our 21st century! IF you have read the book, what is YOUR comment?

Here we go…

Mr. E.

Last updated: 10:32 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

John W. Eyster lives in the Edgerton area. He is an adjunct professor assigned with the online/distance education faculty of Viterbo University, LaCrosse. He continues his personal mission supporting democracy/civics education in Wisconsin K-12 schools through Project Citizen, We the People, Discovering Democracy (Milton HS). John is a community blogger and is not a part of The Gazette staff or management.

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