Aug 7, 2012 9:11 PM by Siera Santos, ssantos@koaa.com

Students trade in pen and paper for iPads

One district is opting for a new twist on traditional teaching. It's BYOD - bring your own device. It's a sign of the times: trading in the pen and paper for an iPad.

Tuesday afternoon, there were plenty of happy faces in Mr. Hammel's fifth grade classroom at Odyssey Elementary School.

"They wouldn't stop talking about it and we couldn't get them to calm down. They were so excited about it," says Hammel.

"It's a personal device that they get to use all day."

Each student in his class got a brand new iPad as part of District 49's iPad "one-to-one program" - a pilot program that may go district wide. Rather than carrying home several heavy text books, they'll use their iPads for reading.

"The iPads themselves have a software built into them called iBooks so most of the titles now that are available in a hard cover book like those are available on the iPad," says John Litchenberg, the Apple engineer for District 49.

Instead of buying a whole new set of textbooks when information changes, publishers can update electronically.

"If they don't understand a word, they can simply tap the word and it will look up the definition for them," Litchenberg says.

Overall, about 260 students of various grade levels will be part of the new iPad program. Only select schools are participating. Because outside of the classroom, technology is a big part of our lives.

"Just knowing how to read, write and do math and science and history and social studies, those are always going to be core essentials, but we want our kids to be more. We want them to be able to communicate, collaborate, problem solve and be global thinkers, and take that information we give to them, the basics, and do something with it."

District 49 invested $1 million dollars as part of their "Innovation Initiative."


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