2012-10-04 / Front Page

Port Aransas kids learn with iPads

Alex Scott Reporter


21st century learners Staff Photo by Alex Scott First grade students Hunter Stunz, Claire Pitre and Naami Aizen learn while they play with an iPad at H. G. Olsen Elementary School. A number of iPads and accessories were provided to the school through a grant by the Port Aranas Education Foundation. 21st century learners Staff Photo by Alex Scott First grade students Hunter Stunz, Claire Pitre and Naami Aizen learn while they play with an iPad at H. G. Olsen Elementary School. A number of iPads and accessories were provided to the school through a grant by the Port Aranas Education Foundation. Port Aransas students have begun using iPads in the classrooms, which allow them to learn their usual lessons while simultaneously learning current technology.

The Port Aransas Education Foundation donated 45 iPads across the three campuses: Fifteen for H. G. Olsen Elementary School, 25 for Brundrett Middle School and five for Port Aransas High School. Each set has been donated for a specific purpose such as social studies and math in the middle school, and world history in the high school.

First grade teacher Meghan Zigmond says it is all part of a process to develop the younger children into 21st century students.

“It is going to engage them in different ways,” said Zigmond, “Teaching in different ways makes them more applicable to their future.”

The elementary school uses the iPads in pre-k through second grade classrooms and will start to use them more frequently in stationed exercises, now that the students have settled into the school year.

Along with the iPads, the education foundation also donated money for accessories and the purchase of apps, which are essential components to learning on the iPads. The elementary school classrooms buy apps for games and exercises that teach counting, reading and spelling.

Other learning features of the iPads in the elementary school include the camera, which will be used for photographing and recognizing shapes, and audio features, where students can hear a recording of a teacher explaining a lesson or reading a book.

Although the iPads are new to the schools, many of the children are already familiar with them at home and are well prepared for their use in the classroom.

“I think that these kids are so used to them at home,” said Zigmond, “if we are not engaging them in that format, we are losing them.”

The students were first taught iPad etiquette and technique, and are now beginning to use them in small group exercises.

“They are fun to use, and you learn a lot,” said first grader Naami Aizen.

First grade teachers Zigmund and Rebecca Peterson expect an increase in their usage throughout the year, as all the students become more familiar with the format. There are even possibilities of using them for previously unavailable activities such as QR barcode scavenger hunts and collectively writing and publishing iBooks.

The education foundation raises a majority of its funds from its annual fundraiser, this year called Fiesta in October, which will be held tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. at the Port Aransas Civic Center.

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