LITTLE FALLS, Minn. — It’s quiz time for math students in a Little Falls fifth-grade class. But instead of pouring through textbooks, they’re navigating touch screens. Apple iPads are on every student’s desk.
“It’s like, awesome,” said fifth-grader Jenna Mrosla.
She finds learning the iPad far easier than thumbing through pages of text or even navigating a PC.
“It’s easy because when you click, wherever you touch is where it is. I don’t have to worry about clicking the wrong spot,” said Jenna.
The use of iPads in the classroom has been an experiment this school year, but district officials and teachers say it has gone so well, they’ve decided to purchase an additional 1,450 of the tablet computers for next year. iPads will be in the hands of all students in grades 5-12.
Teachers like Carrie Youngberg said the technology available to her fifth-graders is already making a big difference.
“It’s a totally new motivation when we roll the cart in and they (iPads) come out. I think some of our harder to reach students are tuned in and ready to go,” Youngberg explained.
Part of the beauty of making the switch to iPads is the immediate access it gives students to texts, lectures and other learning materials.
It’s likely that in the near future, iPads will eliminate the need for paper textbooks. Everything the student needs will be stored in their personal library.
Part of the district’s goal is to cut paper costs up to 95 percent. That alone will help recover the $1.1 million in capitol costs.
But equally as important is the need to keep all texts and materials up to date.
Mark Diehl is the district’s technology director and says that has long been a problem with conventional books.
“We’re going to move to online resources that are up to date and current, instead of textbooks that are basically out of date before it arrives in our district,” said Diehl.