Tonawanda News — Quinn said she liked the iPads, “because it’s so fun. We learn our letters and our numbers.”
After a bit of time to acclimate students and staff to the iPads, they are now mostly used for classroom “centers,” or small group activities, Karnath said. While children in a center at one time often use the same app at once, whether individually or in groups or pairs, they can all work at their own pace and own level, she said.
“Initially, we didn’t know how they’d be able to do it,” she said. “They’re better than we are. They manage it with complete ease. We’ll teach a lesson, and they’ll do the app and they’ll learn more at their own pace.”
Teacher Jillian Elliott agreed.
“It’s really self-directed, so the students can figure out where they want to go,” she said. “It’s very independent.”
Teacher Jackie Rieck admitted she was a little nervous about integrating the devices into the classroom at first, but said it’s worked out well. Although the students also work with desktop computers, the iPads have proven to be even more accessible, she said.
“Using a finger instead of a keyboard or mouse is easier for them, and they seem to have a lot of fun,” she said. “Computers are starting to become obsolete. The next thing is iPads.
“They’re just in the generation of technology. It’s working really well for them.”
Karnath credited Ron Barstys, district director of student services, for helping the program upgrade its technology and give the youngest students access to it.
“Some of them get no exposure to technology at all,” she said. “This is the only place they get it. Everything is becoming technology-based, and they need the exposure at this young age.
“They’re learning skills they need to know ... but they think they’re playing.”