Students Use iPads and Robots

Students at Trident Academy, a nationally recognized K-12 school in Mt. Pleasant for students with learning differences, now have access to a dozen iPad2s, an Apple Learning Lab, a portable SmartBoard and 10 Lego Education Mindstorms Nxt 2.0 robot kits. This nearly $20,000 investment in technology was made possible by restricted gifts received at the 2012 Trident Academy Auction.

“The iPad 2s provide unlimited opportunities for our students,” says Mary Silgals, MLIS, M.Ed. “Already the students in Mrs. Loveland’s class are using an interactive app to learn about the oceans and continents. Mrs. Kristiansen’s drama class used the iPads to create their own sock puppet acts.”

In the coming weeks, all teachers will be trained on the already installed iPad 2 apps, discuss potential curriculum needs, and address how to use the iPads in the classroom. The Apple Learning Lab is a compact and durable rolling cart that stores, charges, syncs, and secures up to 30 iPad devices.

Robotics is already an important part of Trident Academy’s technology curriculum and the 10 new Lego Education Mindstorms Nxt 2.0 robots will further enhance the offerings that allow students to program in a virtual environment and then see their work in a physical environment.

“Robots are especially helpful for students with learning differences as every aspect of the unit requires the use of multiple senses, processing though abstract and concrete concepts, movement, repetition and modifications based on data collected through trial and error,” says Trident Academy technology director Marc Simpson. “Given the task, robot design can be very different. Students must evaluate and contemplate what they want their robot to do in order to design and build a robot that can compete and/or complete that task.”

For more information, Mary Silgals can be reached at and Marc Simpson can be reached at

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