iPads hit classrooms at WSNMS

Published 5:00 pm Friday, November 18, 2011

Amy Bruner, standing, observes students in her language arts class as they use iPads on assignments.

The language arts classroom was quiet at W.S. Neal Middle School Friday morning — except for the tapping on iPad screens by the students in the class. As students checked emails for assignments, each one seemed mesmerized by the flickering screens lying on the desks in front of them — screens filled with words and images aimed at making learning fun.
“This is so much better than a book,” student Tyshawn Davis said. “When you read a book, it’s just a book. But, with this you get to explore things and find out more about the story. It’s really fun.”
Earlier this month, the eighth-grade language arts class began using iPads in the classroom in completing assignments in the class.
Amy Bruner, instructor for the class, said the iPads were somewhat daunting when first considered for use in the classroom, but the reaction of students has proven they were a good — and educational — idea.
“I was both skeptical and excited when I found out I was going to be teaching with the latest technological classroom advances,” Bruner said. “Since then I’ve come to love them. We know that this is the wave of the future and by the time our students are in college, they will be prepared both academically and technologically.”
Principal Dennis Hadaway said the use of the iPads will become more and more common in classroom activities at the school.
“Right now, this is the only class using the iPads,” Hadaway said. “We are introducing other students to the use of the iPad on a computer system right now and will begin using the actual iPads in other classes in the near future.”
Hadaway said social studies and science classes will be the next classes to use the iPads after the current class.
“We have 90 iPads available for our students to use,” Hadaway said. “There are so many things that can be taught and explored with them. We are excited about what this will mean for the education of our students.”
Laci Campbell, another student using iPads in class, said the use of the iPad made the subject matter and the class more interesting.
“Using the iPad makes things easier to understand,” Campbell said. “It’s not boring like a book. This really makes this new and interesting. There are even games on it that we can play when we finish our work for the day. I love it and it’s really fun to use.”
Campbell demonstrated one of the games available for play on the device — Stack the States. Even though the application is a game, it is even educational teaching geography and history of the United States.
Hadaway said the atmosphere in the classroom is proof positive implementing the use of the equipment was a smart move.
“The students definitely enjoy using the iPads,” Hadaway said. “On days when they work on them, you can hear a pin drop in the classroom. They are all engaged in their assignments.”
By the reaction of students already using the devices, Hadaway said he has high expectations for other classes scheduled to begin using the iPads in the near future.
“These devices have definitely piqued the students’ interest in class work,” Hadaway said. “This is a tremendous achievement when one of the biggest challenges we have as educators is motivation. We plan to expand the use of them to every subject area.”
The iPads were bought with federal funds, Hadaway said.

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