Four second grade students from Chandler School presented iPad projects at last Wednesday’s school committee meeting to help illustrate how the devices have become an integral part of their learning experience.

Alli Brown, Dermott Sheehan, Emilie Gagnier and Matt Hogan, all students in Mrs. Doyle’s second grade class, spoke in front of the school committee and walked members through two applications that are helping further their education. Brown and Sheehan began the presentation by talking about Explain Everything, an app that allows students to create slideshows and record their voices. Sheehan explained the first step is to choose a background and then draw an image.

“We already drew this compass rose so it would be ready,” he said. “We use them on maps to show what direction you can go. These are called the cardinal directions.”

Brown used the app to explain the difference between cardinal and intermediate directions. When the students were done, they played back their slide for the school committee.

“You can add as many slides as you want to your slideshow and then make it into a movie,” Brown said.

Erin Wiesehahn, curriculum coordinator at Chandler, said teaching students how to write and record a script is an invaluable lesson. While working on the iPads is fun for the students, she said the slideshows are merely the end result.

Garnier and Horgan then presented an application called Puppet Pals, which allows students to create a video with moving parts. Garnier explained students can choose one of the backgrounds provided on the app, or they could create their own by drawing or taking a picture. Horgan said students can choose from eight different characters and can make characters bigger or smaller by pinching them. When students are ready to create their project, they hit the record button and move their characters around while reciting their script.

“It only counts when you are holding the record button,” Horgan said.

Garnier and Horgan played back a video they had recorded. Horgan chose an alien as his character and traveled around a map of the world, naming the different continents. Garnier chose a pig as her character and named the different seas.

Wiesehahn said the students worked for a couple of days on the presentations and wrote and recorded their own projects. She said she worked with Mrs. Doyle’s class to create a video about the states of matter, taking pictures of solids, liquids and gases around the classroom and transforming it into an educational video.

“Because iPads have a lot of different apps available, we are pushing ourselves to use them to further what we are already doing in classroom, focusing on creating original content,” she said. “The students continue to write, create, produce and explain and the apps give them a different way to show off what they are learning.”

Chandler currently has over 200 iPads at the school with five carts of 20 iPads for the kindergartens, and one cart that rotates throughout the first

and second grades, resulting in about one hour of one to one access for the students each week.

Wiesehahn highlighted some of the most useful apps the school is now using, including Doodle Cast, which allows younger students to master the skill of talking and writing at the same time, and Scribble Press, which helps students create and publish their own books. Last year, students worked on books about what they would do if they ran for president. Wiesehahn has created a complete list of all the apps the students are using at school so interested parents can purchase them at home for their students to continue learning on.

“We are continuing with the learning process as always,” she said. “ We are not using iPads for the sake of using an iPad, but we are enhancing the way students are learning and building upon their writing, editing, and producing original content.”

School committee chairwoman Anne Ward asked why certain apps were chosen over others. Wiesehahn said the app stores have good reviews from teachers on each of the apps, so it is easy to see what works in the classroom and what doesn’t. This is the third year Chandler has been using the iPads and the usage of certain apps has been based on trial an error.

“We do find that using free apps results in a lot of ads popping up so we delete those,” Wiesehahn said. “We do a lot of research before purchasing any of the apps.”

Committee member Maureen Connolly said she was impressed with the skill levels of the students and what they are learning in second grade.

“I don’t think I learned geography until fourth grade and states of matter until seventh,” she said. “I’m just shocked.”