Tonawanda News

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February 1, 2013

Tablet technology assisting preK classrooms

Tonawanda News — Prekindergarten? There’s an app for that.

Since December, students at the Carousel Academy, the North Tonawanda school district Universal Prekindergarten program at Grant School, have been using iPads right along with — and to augment— their daily studies of letters, numbers and shapes.

Amanda Karnath, administrator of the Carousel Academy, said that Universal Prekindergarten grant money was used to purchase the devices, six for each of the program’s three classrooms, and about 10 educational applications for the students to use. As they master those apps, she said, more will be purchased.

“They’re all very excited to use them,” she said. “With the new New York state core curriculum, technology is really a part of the 4-year-old program. Getting them exposed to this is important.

“Technology is just the reality today. This exposure to it at a young age is necessary. We use it for different purposes ... kids who are at a lower level, kids who are at a higher level, kids who don’t speak a lot. It’s not just squares and letters and numbers anymore.”

On Thursday morning, one group of students was completely engrossed in the iPads, tapping away at the devices enclosed in protective, brightly colored cases. Nathaniel Wydysh was working on an activity in Pirate Trio Academy, building structures out of a variety of shapes on his screen with a swipe of his finger in an app designed to teach children about geometry.

“I love this game,” he said, putting the final piece into place on a boat, “ ‘cause I’m good at it!”

Next to him, student Katey Quinn used a different program, using shapes to construct an emu, the name of which she then had to spell. Students Sage Pradon and Carsten Thuersam played a Word Wagon game, identifying letters or sounding out words and spelling them.

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