March 4, 2013
Appleby upgrades learning
Marathon PTO buys 15 iPads for elementary school
MARATHON — Appleby Elementary School is preparing to provide students with 15 iPad Minis loaded with educational apps, purchased with funds raised by the school’s Parent-Teacher Organization.
“Let’s face it, the world’s moving fast,” said PTO Co-President Melonie Lawrence, adding that children need to keep up with new technology.
“It’s not about pen and paper anymore,” she said.
The PTO provided the district with $5,000 to purchase the 15 tablets.
“It’s not in the (district) budget,” said Christine Keller, who helped organize the fundraiser.
The district decided to use iPad Minis, a smaller version of Apple’s tablet, because they cost about $170 to $180 a tablet less than full-size iPads, said Jerry Hence, a business technology staff member at Marathon Junior Senior High School.
The Ipads are the first Ipads the district has gotten for student use, said Appleby Elementary School Principal Jonathan Hillis.
“There’s just so many apps for education,” said Hence, who estimated the tablet applications to number around 200,000. Most are geared to elementary school students, including apps that teach how to tell time and apps that teach colors and shapes.
Seven teachers are attending iPad workshops with Hence and are compiling a list of approved apps.
Approved apps will be placed in folders for each grade that all students can use, Hence said. The school is focusing on free apps.
Students who are advancing ahead of their class can use the apps of older grades to challenge themselves, Keller said. And that won’t impact the other students in the child’s class because it is independent work, Lawrence said.
“It’s not to play Angry Birds,” Lawrence said, referring to a popular game. Keller noted that students will always use the iPads in a supervised group.
The district can purchase almost three iPads for the same price as a laptop and students will not have to spend five minutes of their 15 minute computer sessions logging in and out of the computers, Hence said. Laptops only have a two-hour battery life, he added, while the tablets have enough power to last all day.
The iPads also give the school the option to convert to electronic textbooks, Hence said.
Using the tablets is a fun way for students to learn, Lawrence said.
“They’re having a good time,” she said. “They’re holding it, totally engaged.”
All three expect the students to quickly learn how to use the tablets.
Children have an intuitive relationship with technology, Hence said.
He is anticipating the iPads will be ready for students to use within two months.
“That’s my goal,” he said.
“I think its exciting for our school,” Keller said.
“It was a great investment,” Lawrence said. “We’re not sorry one bit.”
Hence suggested that another fundraising project for the PTO could be to collect money to purchase some apps, which was met with enthusiasm by Lawrence and Keller.
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