Northland School Pushing iPad Initiative
Posted at: 09/06/2013 4:09 PM
| Updated at: 09/06/2013 6:21 PM
By: Travis Dill
Instead of banning electronics one Northland school has purchased iPads for every student this year. Educators said the devices actually speed up and improve the quality of learning.
Over 700 students headed back to class this week at Lincoln Elementary School in Hibbing, and waiting on every desk was a shiny new iPad. Conventional wisdom might suggest the electronics would be distracting for the third through sixth graders, but that is not the case according to Principal Robert Bestul.
“We've seen exactly the opposite of that in the classroom. When we went in there and observed, we saw students, and I saw students, sharing and working together and helping each other and bringing things home and wanting to show parents,” Bestul said.
He said the school district racked up a bill of over $500,000, but the new technology will cut costs on things like paper and printing.
Teachers said the initiative is worth the money because it gives all students tech experience for future careers.
“Almost all of them will use some form of technology so I feel like I'm giving them a real world tool right now,” Jolene Etter said.
Etter teaches third grade and tested the iPads in her classroom last year. She said with the new devices students are able to create informative group presentations.
Etter said the educational applications can adapt to each student's unique needs, and they give students immediate feedback on schoolwork. That's something fourth grader Mia Stich said is impossible on a paper worksheet.
“On paper the teacher just corrects it. On this it actually tells you when you're doing something wrong. The paper doesn't do that,” Stich said.
The new technology is great in the hands of the students, but teachers said they love it as well. Etter said the iPads make presenting information to the class easier.
“Using my iPad I reflect it up on the Eno Board and the students are able to view it all together at the same time,” Etter said.
Educators said the technology invasion is happening across the state, but students and parents should not think it is taking over completely.
“Technology enhances what good teachers can do, and so I think that's really a key to this. Don't forget it's just a tool,” Bestul said.
The iPads are school property, but students will be able to take them home during the school year. Bestul said the Hibbing School District hopes to expand the iPad initiative to high school students in coming years.