CHAMPION - Trumbull Career and Technical Center math instructor Brian Foutty said it was his goal to make his lessons relevant to his students' lives when he was creating a digital textbook to use for the school year in his integrated math classes.
The textbook he uses each day in his class was made specifically for the iPad using Apple software used by students.
Foutty and TCTC Director Jason Gray attended an Apple computer workshop where the focus was on how teachers are the ''experts in their fields.''
"It hit me that I understood what they were saying since we know what the students need when they attend school here," Foutty said.
He said what he has noticed as a teacher is many students are often distracted by the extra information in the textbooks.
"I wanted to created a very simple-looking textbook that cuts right to what the students need, and I believe I have done that," Foutty said.
The Integrated Math 3 classes can get all the information they need from the video textbook.
Foutty said some students have their own iPads and have copies of the book. For those without iPads, he was able to export the textbook to a pdf format which can be played on flash drive from a CD.
"Students have access to the book at their home even if they do not have an iPad. They can still do their school work and look at the text," Foutty said.
Each chapter on the textbook has lessons with interactive diagrams, images, different photos and 3-D objects and models.
"What I have found is students with iPads at home love it. Others have to get to their computer and are getting used to it,'' he said.
Before he became a teacher, Foutty was a pilot in the Marine Corps and was able to utilize photos of places he has seen in the textbooks as well as pictures of his family at different locations.
"When we are studying three-dimensional objects what better than to have an actual 3-D model,'' he said.
Foutty said what Apple did was create the software for students and teachers to use with the iPad.
Foutty said research has shown that too often students don't find math relevant or interesting.
"What I tried to to do was to make the textbook interesting and relevant to them," Foutty said.
This is the first year Foutty has used the digital textbook, although all his lessons are on video and students can go to the class's website to review the lesson.
"This is a 21st century classroom that provides information wherever you want it and whenever you want it.
''My goal when I started teaching Integrated Math 3 and when I taught Integrated Math 2 was to have students be able to get to the information when they are at home. If they miss a lesson or have a question they can check the video and their notes from home,'' he said.
"What is most exciting is the 3-D models that you don't get to do in the textbooks. I wanted to make the lesson real and show examples of where this will affect the students in their lives,'' Foutty said.
For example, a lesson using polynomials has an image of a roller coaster. For a lesson on how gravity affects free-falling objects, he shows a video of his dropping pumpkins from an elevated location on a fire truck ladder.
"This is a way to make the learning relevant to the students. They can see how the formula is applied and where the problem comes from. I want them to see how it affects them,'' he said.
TCTC Academic Supervisor Larry Crawford said what he has observed is when teachers use the iPads in the classroom, the students are never bored.
"Students today are digital learners. You simply can't just talk to them but when you get them on technology as part of guiding their learning they almost always learn the lesson,'' Crawford said.
"I have to tell myself in my head to be quiet at times and let the students experience their own learning on the computer," Foutty said.
Crawford said Foutty teaches more than 100 juniors and seniors each day.
Foutty was able to create the textbook with no cost to the school.
When Foutty is going to be absent he is able to get the recorded video of that specific lesson so students or faculty members can come and get it. All lessons are on flash drives.
Foutty also is an app developer and created various apps for the school. One of the most popular is the student life section which shows different school events such as talent shows and senior projects.
Gray said the apps allow prospective TCTC students to see different programs and do exploration to see what the programs are about.