Plainview Intermediate School classrooms had new tools to use as they returned to class Wednesday.
The Plainview Education Foundation gave 40 iPads to teachers last Thursday during a staff meeting. Teachers received five to six devices for each classroom. Since school was out for the weather, teachers did not get to use the iPads until Wednesday.
"We're very excited," said fourth-grade teacher Mary Smith. "My fourth-graders love to use the iPads. They work on Study Island for reading and math, and take their AR tests."
Previously, classrooms only had a couple of computers per room plus the teacher's computer and iPad. There is also an iPad cart, with 30 devices that can be checked out to one class at a time.
The foundation will be giving 20 more iPads to the school at a later date, and the district is purchasing 20 more iPads.
With the middle school and high school in the midst of going one-to-one, with a device for each student, the intermediate is working to have that many devices so students can become familiar with them. Currently, there are enough devices for about one-third of the student body at one time.
"Students are so technology driven now," said Principal Julie Altom. "They do not learn just through paper-and-pencil method any longer. So, for them, to pick up an iPad and learn through technology is what will help them be academically successful in today's world."
Teachers attended a training in the summer about apps for the classroom. They have already begun to use the apps through the iPad cart.
An app called Scribble Press allows students to type journal entries on the device and email it to their teacher when they are finished.
Quizlet allows teachers to type study guides for their students. The students are then able to log in to the program on the iPads or online at home to play games to prepare for exams.
Fourth-grade teacher Jesica Gilliam uses the app Puppet Story, which allows the users to create a puppet show.
"They use their spelling words, which helps them know what the words mean," Gilliam explained.
Sometimes it is not even the apps that are exciting additions to the classroom.
"We tape their presentations to the class," said Stephanie Teacle, fourth-grade teacher. "They can see how it came across to their audience."
"Just having access to the internet is a benefit," explained fifth-grade teacher Jackie Matherly.
Tech-savvy students often reach for the limited devices in the classroom instead of reference books. According to Matherly, students use the devices to look up words in the electronic dictionary or thesaurus.
"I have paper copies, but this is where we are headed," Matherly said.