A new way of learning at RES
by Laura Camper
Sep 11, 2013 | 1445 views |  0 comments | 53 53 recommendations | email to a friend | print
While Cleburne County high schools are moving towards providing laptops to each of its students, Ranburne Elementary School is investing money in iPads.

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 funds to purchase 10 iPads last school year, Hall said.

In addition several teachers used their state-funded classroom supply money to buy iPads for their classrooms, she added. In all, the school now has 30 iPads to distribute throughout the 19 classrooms.

Eventually, Hall hopes to have enough tablets for every student, but that isn’t something that’s going to 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 laptops, 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 taught by the system’s then technology director, Hornsby said. She received two more 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 their letters.

“I pull them over for an extra dose of what we’re learning,” Hornsby said.

But she said as the year progresses, the students will be able to use the iPads for things like counting games, math games, reading games and stories, she said.

“I’m still trying to find out how I want to use them,” Hornsby said. The teachers are all learning together, she added.

They’ll recommend apps, the iPad equivalent of programs, to each other when they find a good one.

Wednesday, Hornsby was using the tablets to test students’ proficiency in reading. Two children were playing word games on one tablet. One was working on letter identification on the second, and one student was spelling words with the help of the third iPad.

It’s fun the students all agreed. One 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 256-463-2872. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.
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