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iPads enhance education

Alissa Widman Neese • Nov 21, 2013 at 6:40 PM

Earlier this month, Woodlands Intermediate School fifth-graders used iPads to maneuver spacecraft and carefully land on other planets.

Soon after, Ella Fisher perused blog posts on an iPad, highlighting conversations with students across the globe about their recent science experiments.

Nick Pack then watched a cartoon he created to illustrate the life cycle of a water droplet, an instant class favorite.

Want to read?

After visiting Stone Laboratory on South Bass Island, Leah Lacrosse’s fifth-graders used iPads to create an online book about their adventures. 

Visit HERE to download it on iTunes

For the past three years, longtime teacher Leah LaCrosse has utilized iPads and many other hands-on activities to make her science classes fun and engaging for her Woodlands Intermediate School fifth-graders.

She’s helped pioneer the concept of expanding education outside classroom walls by conducting iPad training sessions nationwide.

Her advice to educators of any age group:

• Use technology to support already-existing content; it shouldn’t be an “add-on.”

• Build ideas with students and learn from them. q Give students meaningful tasks to complete so they will respect the device.

• Connect with experts to share ideas and continue to learn. “Utilizing iPads allows students to learn, connect, collaborate and create in such a dynamic way,”

LaCrosse said. “I don’t know of another device that does everything with such reliability and possibilities.”

District-wide, Huron Schools utilizes 110 iPads.

All the devices cost about $44,000 total from the district’s general and permanent improvement funds, treasurer Mike Weis said.

LaCrosse uses 25 of them for her classes, which she obtained through a competitive application process within the district.

Students praised LaCrosse’s program, which will likely become a model for other teachers to emulate.

Whether they’re designing iPad applications, webcam chatting with students from other countries or singing along to a video of their favorite “owl pellet” song, her students are never shy to admit they’re enjoying the educational process.

“It’s cool because we’ve never really done anything like this in school before,” fifth-grader Claire Farrell said. “It’s really made learning fun.”

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