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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • 'This is the future'

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  • As Oak Hall students enter their music class, they scan the QR code which leads them to their lesson for the day.
    On Monday, fourth-graders were directed to a video called "Welcome to Jungle" by 2Cellos as a back-to-school treat that fits with the school's theme of "wild." Teacher Pamela Stevenson can change the link to which the code leads each week to fit her lessons.
    This is just one of many ways teachers are incorporating iPads into their lessons.
    Each student is issued an iPad, made possible through funding from the Jerome Westheimer Family Foundation.
    "This is the future. This is where it is all headed," says technology director Sara Smith. "These little ones may get to middle school, and everything will be electronic."
    The iPads are equipped with safeguards to control the content students access and an OtterBox to protect the device itself.
    "Part of what we are doing is giving students the tools to use electronics responsibly," says Head of School Ken Willy.
    The school had to set up a wireless network and install new routers.
    "Anywhere a child goes in school, they have accessibility," says librarian Suzanne Bigbie.
    Each device issued is specific to that student. Apps are installed based on each grade. The device will go with each student throughout their time at Oak Hall.
    Initial setup takes about two hours for each device, but once it's done, each device will only need to be upgraded with the apps for a new grade level.
    Educational software that has been available on computer is gradually becoming available in app format. For example, Accelerated Reader tests can now be taken on the iPads instead of on the computer.
    "Teachers have been proactive in searching for the right material," Willy says.
    Textbooks have not been created yet for elementary level, so books are still in use. However, the future looks like it is moving towards e-books.
    "I'd much rather hold a book, but for these kids, it's not an issue," Smith says.
    In the long run, the devices will save the school money. A textbook app costs about $14 while an average textbook is $70-$80.
    Also, once an app is purchased, the school will receive the upgrade for free, as opposed to having to order a new set of textbooks for $70-$80 each.
    Students are especially excited about the new devices.
    "It's cool because it's different than other schools," says eighth-grader Shivali Dahya.
    Eighth-graders are using an app called iTooch in their English class.
    "Since we got the iPads, we get certain projects that are different than before," says eighth-grader Troy Velasquez.
    Page 2 of 2 - Middle school and fifth-grade students did some work on iPads last school year, including taking a test on the devices.
    "It was way better because it wasn't as hard as having to think and write things down. The iPads are easier," says sixth-grader Jentry Lemons.
    Students also appreciate not having to carry around a stack of textbooks and a dictionary in order to complete work.
    "It's a lot easier because we don't have to carry around textbooks, and looking up stuff is easier," says sixth-grader Zachary Bramlett.
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