Brenda Hall, principal of the school, said she applied for a $2,400 grant from Coosa Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council over the summer to help purchase the tablets. She was awarded the grant in August and used it along with $1,390 donated by the school’s Parent Teacher Organization to purchase 10 iPads for the school’s classrooms.
The system used federal money to purchase 10 iPads last school year, Hall said. In addition, several teachers used their state-provided classroom supply money to buy iPads for their classrooms, she added. In all, the school now has 30 of the devices to distribute throughout the 19 classrooms. Eventually, Hall hopes to have enough tablets for every student, but that won’t happen this year, she said.
The iPads provide the students with learning that’s fun, and the tablets are often easier for young children to use than laptop computers, Hall said.
“The more iPads we have, the more students will have hands-on learning,” Hall said.
Kindergarten teacher LeAnne Hornsby has three iPads in her classroom. She received one last year for attending a course on using the tablets in the classroom, Hornsby said. She received two more tablets this year, Hornsby said. This year, her 16 students will share the tablets, Hornsby said.
Right now, she said, the students are using them for remediation. For instance, she has a couple of students who need some extra help learning the alphabet.
“I pull them over for an extra dose of what we’re learning,” Hornsby said.
But she said as the year progresses, students will be able to use the iPads for things like games to learn counting, math and reading.
“I’m still trying to find out how I want to use them,” Hornsby said.
The teachers are all learning together, she added. Recommending to each other applications they find useful.
On Wednesday Hornsby used the tablets to test students’ reading proficiency. Two children played word games on one tablet. One worked on letter identification on a second device, and one student spelled words with the help of the third iPad.
The students agreed that earning with the devices is fun. One said she liked the iPad because it talked to her. Another liked learning to read words and a third just said using the iPad was like playing games.
It gives the students a different way to learn, Hornsby said.
“It’s not all paper and pencil ... it’s colorful,” Hornsby said. “It gives them instant recognition when they get it right.”
Staff writer Laura Camper: 256-235-3545. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.