WINCHESTER, Ky. (AP) — New iPad minis are already proving their value in some eastern Kentucky classrooms.
Schools in Clark County were awarded $22,000 in December to use as staff saw fit, and Central Elementary decided to buy 32 of the devices. Central Elementary Principal Lisa Smith told The Winchester Sun (http://bit.ly/YDUSjd) that the iPads have been a big help.
"The kids are really engaged with those," Smith said. "I'm excited to have those."
For example, she said it has allowed 4th graders in Jessica Pedigo's class to collaborate on math problems with students at Conkwright Middle School who are part of the Student Technology Leadership Program.
The middle school students start the dialogue while using computers in the school's media center.
"They posted a math question and these kids answer it," technology teacher Joanna Clarke said. "And then they (STLP) will give them feedback."
They are able to work together through a program called Edmodo that works like Facebook, but is geared toward education.
"We collaborate with the teacher," said Conkwright librarian Damonica Partin, who runs the STLP program. "We've done whatever the teacher has needed of us. We've learned how to do it, then we go and teach the students."
STLP students have also traveled to the classroom to instruct younger students with a more hands-on approach.
"We helped them with their projects while they did power-point presentations," Conkwright seventh-grader and STLP member Whitney Walker said. "Now we're helping them figure out the answers for math problems."
Pedigo said the Edmodo tracks students' activities and sends notices to her.
"I can monitor them," Pedigo said. "Just now my phone beeped like a text and said, 'You have 58 notifications from Edmodo' because they're all doing something."
In addition, the devices have a program called ClassDojo that "captures and generates date on behavior that teachers can share with parents and administrators," according to the application's website.
Smith said there are additional benefits as well.
"We can put school books on there with hot links in the text and embedded videos — interactive text books," she said. "And they'll never have outdated textbooks. Textbooks are expensive and these are downloadable."
Information from: The Winchester (Ky.) Sun, http://www.centralkynews.com/winchestersun