Trebuchet launches iPad revolution

News Nov 05, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

Spencer McGregor is not only able to explain how a trebuchet slings ammunition at a target, he and classmates Katie Brown and Wyatt Scratch learned to how build one all by themselves.

The Grade 12 students at Ancaster High School went online to determine the ratios of the lever and fulcrum for their miniature version of the catapult-style weapon as part of a physics class assignment.

Along the way, they learned the history of the trebuchet, a popular siege weapon in the Middle Ages also used in ancient China.

They then used their previous knowledge to calculate things like the gravitational energy of the lever’s counterweight and the parabolic path, or trajectory, of their projectile – a golf ball.

Best of all, they got to test their model against those of other class teams in an outdoor competition awarding points for distance and accuracy.

“It was definitely lots of fun. I didn’t imagine Grade 12 physics was going to be like this,” McGregor said. “It was quite the experience because when we started we knew nothing about trebuchets.”

Their trebuchet assignment was among a roomful of examples of online learning on display at a celebration of a Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board initiative known as Transforming Learning Everywhere.

In the first year of its rollout – including at Nora Frances Henderson and Mountain high schools – the venture will spend $18 million over the next five years to provide iPads to every student in grades 4 to 12.

The technology has already gained a foothold in many classrooms on a more ad hoc basis, including in full-day kindergarten at Binbrook’s Bellmoore school, where students like Henry White made videos of stories they wrote and illustrated in book form.

The five-year-old narrated his story, Henry and the Haunted House, appearing on camera at the end to shout, “Boo!” – although he was more intent on getting a reporter to look at his hard-copy version when chatting about his effort.

“It brings it to a whole different dimension,” educational assistant Dawn Stinson said of the iPads’ ability to animate her students’ work. “It’s amazing, and they’re so proud of their stories.”

Education director John Malloy said the iPad initiative’s “lofty goal” is to unleash students’ creativity, energy and learning by helping them access global resources.

Doing so will change both the classroom and the traditional teacher-student relationship, he said.

“The relationships no longer need to be where one person holds the expertise and everyone called student follows,” Malloy said. “We’re talking about learning for success accelerated by technology and driven by instruction.”

The event’s keynote speaker, Dean Shareski, a former teacher and digital learning advocate, said some people will question using iPads in the classroom, but that’s typical of any new technology.

Socrates worried reading and writing would harm memory, for example, while the printing press prompted concerns people would be confused by the proliferation of information in books, he said.

“A primary idea behind this is that we don’t need better schools, we need different schools,” Shareski said, likening the world-changing potential of the Internet to that of cars when they replaced horses.

“We can’t just keep improving, keep doing the same thing but do it better. We have to transform. We have to do things that look very different from the way that a lot of us were educated.”

Trebuchet launches iPad revolution

News Nov 05, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

Spencer McGregor is not only able to explain how a trebuchet slings ammunition at a target, he and classmates Katie Brown and Wyatt Scratch learned to how build one all by themselves.

The Grade 12 students at Ancaster High School went online to determine the ratios of the lever and fulcrum for their miniature version of the catapult-style weapon as part of a physics class assignment.

Along the way, they learned the history of the trebuchet, a popular siege weapon in the Middle Ages also used in ancient China.

They then used their previous knowledge to calculate things like the gravitational energy of the lever’s counterweight and the parabolic path, or trajectory, of their projectile – a golf ball.

Best of all, they got to test their model against those of other class teams in an outdoor competition awarding points for distance and accuracy.

“It was definitely lots of fun. I didn’t imagine Grade 12 physics was going to be like this,” McGregor said. “It was quite the experience because when we started we knew nothing about trebuchets.”

Their trebuchet assignment was among a roomful of examples of online learning on display at a celebration of a Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board initiative known as Transforming Learning Everywhere.

In the first year of its rollout – including at Nora Frances Henderson and Mountain high schools – the venture will spend $18 million over the next five years to provide iPads to every student in grades 4 to 12.

The technology has already gained a foothold in many classrooms on a more ad hoc basis, including in full-day kindergarten at Binbrook’s Bellmoore school, where students like Henry White made videos of stories they wrote and illustrated in book form.

The five-year-old narrated his story, Henry and the Haunted House, appearing on camera at the end to shout, “Boo!” – although he was more intent on getting a reporter to look at his hard-copy version when chatting about his effort.

“It brings it to a whole different dimension,” educational assistant Dawn Stinson said of the iPads’ ability to animate her students’ work. “It’s amazing, and they’re so proud of their stories.”

Education director John Malloy said the iPad initiative’s “lofty goal” is to unleash students’ creativity, energy and learning by helping them access global resources.

Doing so will change both the classroom and the traditional teacher-student relationship, he said.

“The relationships no longer need to be where one person holds the expertise and everyone called student follows,” Malloy said. “We’re talking about learning for success accelerated by technology and driven by instruction.”

The event’s keynote speaker, Dean Shareski, a former teacher and digital learning advocate, said some people will question using iPads in the classroom, but that’s typical of any new technology.

Socrates worried reading and writing would harm memory, for example, while the printing press prompted concerns people would be confused by the proliferation of information in books, he said.

“A primary idea behind this is that we don’t need better schools, we need different schools,” Shareski said, likening the world-changing potential of the Internet to that of cars when they replaced horses.

“We can’t just keep improving, keep doing the same thing but do it better. We have to transform. We have to do things that look very different from the way that a lot of us were educated.”

Trebuchet launches iPad revolution

News Nov 05, 2014 Hamilton Mountain News

By Richard Leitner, News Staff

Spencer McGregor is not only able to explain how a trebuchet slings ammunition at a target, he and classmates Katie Brown and Wyatt Scratch learned to how build one all by themselves.

The Grade 12 students at Ancaster High School went online to determine the ratios of the lever and fulcrum for their miniature version of the catapult-style weapon as part of a physics class assignment.

Along the way, they learned the history of the trebuchet, a popular siege weapon in the Middle Ages also used in ancient China.

They then used their previous knowledge to calculate things like the gravitational energy of the lever’s counterweight and the parabolic path, or trajectory, of their projectile – a golf ball.

Best of all, they got to test their model against those of other class teams in an outdoor competition awarding points for distance and accuracy.

“It was definitely lots of fun. I didn’t imagine Grade 12 physics was going to be like this,” McGregor said. “It was quite the experience because when we started we knew nothing about trebuchets.”

Their trebuchet assignment was among a roomful of examples of online learning on display at a celebration of a Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board initiative known as Transforming Learning Everywhere.

In the first year of its rollout – including at Nora Frances Henderson and Mountain high schools – the venture will spend $18 million over the next five years to provide iPads to every student in grades 4 to 12.

The technology has already gained a foothold in many classrooms on a more ad hoc basis, including in full-day kindergarten at Binbrook’s Bellmoore school, where students like Henry White made videos of stories they wrote and illustrated in book form.

The five-year-old narrated his story, Henry and the Haunted House, appearing on camera at the end to shout, “Boo!” – although he was more intent on getting a reporter to look at his hard-copy version when chatting about his effort.

“It brings it to a whole different dimension,” educational assistant Dawn Stinson said of the iPads’ ability to animate her students’ work. “It’s amazing, and they’re so proud of their stories.”

Education director John Malloy said the iPad initiative’s “lofty goal” is to unleash students’ creativity, energy and learning by helping them access global resources.

Doing so will change both the classroom and the traditional teacher-student relationship, he said.

“The relationships no longer need to be where one person holds the expertise and everyone called student follows,” Malloy said. “We’re talking about learning for success accelerated by technology and driven by instruction.”

The event’s keynote speaker, Dean Shareski, a former teacher and digital learning advocate, said some people will question using iPads in the classroom, but that’s typical of any new technology.

Socrates worried reading and writing would harm memory, for example, while the printing press prompted concerns people would be confused by the proliferation of information in books, he said.

“A primary idea behind this is that we don’t need better schools, we need different schools,” Shareski said, likening the world-changing potential of the Internet to that of cars when they replaced horses.

“We can’t just keep improving, keep doing the same thing but do it better. We have to transform. We have to do things that look very different from the way that a lot of us were educated.”