iPads in the Classroom

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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In a world where more research is done with a keyboard and mouse rather than with a book in a library, Valley Center Middle School is trying to keep up with the changing classroom.

The district is providing students with a new technological tool in an attempt to extend lessons outside of the classroom.

They will be giving each seventh grader, about 225 of them, with their very own iPad.

It's part of a new pilot program.

"The iPad just has so many different apps and capabilities, that's the reason why we're getting them for our students," said Greg Lehr, Vice Principal.

At about four hundred dollars apiece, the school used three-hundred-fifty-thousand dollars of bond money to purchase the new gadgets.

Lehr said the money was well spent.

"Students will be able to take it home and use it, it will be a true one to one anytime anywhere they'll have access to it on the weekends, at home, whenever they'd need it, they'd have it," Lehr said.

Eighth grade teacher Brianna Reyes was influential in bringing the iPads to the school.

She attended conferences where she learned the value of incorporating iPads into the classroom.

"They'll have the world at their fingertips so they're going to be able to access knowledge without having to rely on the teacher input all the time, so they can kind of take charge of their own learning."

Reyes has already had the opportunity to get her hands on one of the iPads.

And has already found a number of the apps helpful.

"I mean, if I want my kids to do story maps, there's an app for that, if I want them to start doing research, I can have them split screens and do research on one side and do research on the other," Reyes said.

Other ideas include using the calendar to keep track of assignments and test dates, incorporating Skype to talk with students across the world, and even Googledoc to collaborate on assignments.

"Anytime we can hopefully engage them in relevant, and make it fun for them, make learning fun, that's the ultimate goal," she said.

Hopes are that if this years' pilot program is successful, it can expand to other grades over the next five years.

The school is expecting to be able to hand out the iPads sometime in October.

If an iPad is broken, there is an insurance plan in place.

Parents will sign off on a user agreement insurance plan that costs $50 per year on a sliding scale based on income. There would be a one-hundred-dollar deductible.


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