School tests kids’ use of iPads

4th October, 2010 - Posted by Sammie Gann - No Comments

By William Croyle • wcroyle@nky.com
September 30, 2010

 INDEPENDENCE – It’s been a week since Thomas, Ilani and Miranda arrived here in Renee Kidwell’s fourth-grade class at Summit View Elementary School.

To nobody’s surprise, they have been welcomed with open arms – and fingertips – by the other students.

Thomas, Ilani and Miranda are iPads, tablet computers made by Apple that require only a finger to operate.

“Mrs. Kidwell said these are our best friends, so we decided to give them names,” said Abby McCaffrey, who works with Ilani each day.

The 27 iPads and accessories – $30,000 worth- were delivered Sept. 22, courtesy of the Duke Energy Foundation. The devices are part of a pilot project between Duke, STEM Innovations (a Cincinnati firm that supports K-12 math and science education) and the Kenton County School District.

“We’re wondering if technology will improve the comprehension of science for them,” said Joe Chavez, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) consultant for the school district.

Students were tested in science and completed surveys about their attitudes toward science a week before the iPads arrived. They will be tested and fill out surveys again in the spring to see if their academics and attitudes have progressed as a result of the iPads.

The students are using them now for in-class math and science assignments.

 ”It’s only been a week and I think we’re all still in that shock mode,” said Kidwell. “I’ll incorporate it into all subjects when I can.”

The students have e-mail accounts so that they can e-mail their completed assignments from their desks to Kidwell.

“This will also help us go paperless,” said Kidwell, who is one of the coaches of the school’s energy team.

Austin Wallace, who named Thomas after his dad, said he likes everything about the new gadget. “Instead of searching in a book for a definition, you can just type in the word and it comes right up,” he said.

Jenny Arrowsmith, 9, said Miranda has helped her with her spelling. “If you’re typing something and you spell it wrong, it will let you know right away,” she said.

Abby said Ilani has been much easier to deal with than her other friends – Paper and Pencil.

“When you get something wrong, you don’t have to erase it and end up ripping your paper like I
always do,” Abby said. “These iPads are definitely way better.”

Photo by The Enquirer/Amanda Davidson Jennifer Sloan, a fourth-grader at Summit View Elementary School, uses an iPad during a lesson on Thursday. Students in Renee Kidwell's class are using the iPads, thanks to $30,000 from Duke Energy.

The Enquirer/Amanda Davidson Liam Blanchet, a fourth-grader at Summit View Elementary School, uses an iPad during a lesson on Sept. 30, 2010.

What technology are you using in your classroom? Post your amazing and creative ideas to use technology in your classroom in the reply box below.

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Posted on: October 4, 2010

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