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On the Bright Side

December 3, 2013

Technology grows in Sidney with move toward iPad-based learning


It’s also somewhat second nature to students. Cartossa zipped around the iPad, showing off educational programs, how they work and how he uses them for classwork and homework.

“It’s great,” Cartossa said. “It’s been a lot easier for me to get my notes for class. You don’t have to use a pen and paper.”

DeCocker said the iPads also speed up the learning process as students will go through assignments quickly. If they finish, they have certain apps — learning-tool games — they can use until the next part of the lesson starts.

“They learn so fast,” she said. “I’m able to provide more enriching content. There’s not as much time spent copying notes.”

There are a few downfalls — but ones DeCocker said she isn’t upset about, such as the time needed to research resources and to convert previous materials into digital format. Because students are learning quicker, it’s also a challenge to provide more enriching content.

“That’s a good problem to have,” she said.

Teachers also need to make sure students know iPad etiquette, so they know what they can and can’t do on a school-owned iPad.

“You have to give them specific boundaries,” DeCocker said. “You have to teach them because they have the universe at their fingertips. You have to be watchful.”

The district used bulk pricing and Board of Cooperative Educational Services aid to offset the cost of the iPads.

Sidney used a collaborative purchasing program, which means the total cost for the district is very similar to what the cost of annual textbooks and instructional material normally would be.

The cost of the iPad is essentially the same amount as five to six textbooks.

The iPads are a step toward moving students using iPads as textbooks. Sidney Superintendent Bill Christensen noted the school is looking to have many more digital books through the library.

“The educational field has seen a tremendous amount of growth in the past few years, and most of it is positive,” Christensen said in the release. “What has really changed is the technology in the schools. Classrooms, libraries, and just about everywhere in schools, have started to rely on technology more and more.”

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