On Tuesday night, North Decatur Elementary School students from Linda Smith’s second and third grade classes eagerly demonstrated the new iPads they will be using in class.
Nate Sell, Decatur County Schools (DCS) technology assistant, explained that Smith’s class is part of a pilot initiative to see what programs work with the children.
The iPads will definitely become part of the school’s teaching tools, but DCS must determine which applications work the best, according to Sell.
There are currently six pilot programs in place, said Sell, between kindergarten through sixth grade.
Decatur County Schools hope to have all of the elementary classes equipped with iPads by Spring 2014, including the teachers.
Smith stated that the iPads give her more understanding of the level at which individual children are performing, and that the kids are excited to be using the iPads.
“They need to be motivated to learn,” said Smith.
Sell said there has been a wide range of responses from teachers. Some teachers wanted to volunteer to be on the pilot program, others were indifferent, and some teachers didn’t want to change their tried and true teaching methods.
Regardless of their respective opinions, all of the teachers will be taught how to use the iPads in their classes.
“I think it’s gonna change things for the better,” said Sell. “This is the direction teaching is going.”
There are also plans for North and South Decatur high schools to receive iPads.
The higher grades are more difficult to evaluate, said Sell, because the classes and teachers change daily for high school students.
The daily changes make data hard to collect on what works at the high school level. The addition of iPads requires an “all or nothing” approach by giving all the classes iPads rather than easing in like DCS is doing with the elementary schools.
DSC hopes to have the high schools equipped with iPads between 2014 and 2016, though nothing is official.
The funds for the iPads are coming from schools’ “Capital Projects” and “Text Book Reimbursement” accounts, according to Mike Wilcox, DCS assistant superintendent.
The iPads are purchased in packs of 10, with iPad Minis at $309 a piece, and regular-sized iPads at $479 each. There are approximately 11,000 students between the North and South Decatur elementary schools.
Contact: Tess Rowing 812-663-3111 x7004