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Local News

December 3, 2013

Technology grows in Sidney with move toward iPad-based learning

The Sidney Central School District has implemented a 1-to-1 iPad Initiative for the 2013-14 school year, giving every student in seventh through 12th grade an Apple iPad to use. The technology will be used in conjunction with Schoology, a learning management system.

Students and parents signed permission slips, which outlined expectations and policies for acceptable use.

According to a media release, teacher training on the new system has been ongoing for the past three years and instruction will start to be migrated to a more 21st century platform.

Mackenzie DeCocker, a seventh-grade physical science teacher, has taught science for 12 years. She’s using the iPad in class for the second year.

The technology has proven to be invaluable in helping her students, DeCocker said in a media release.

“In the past, when drawing atom structures, we’d use chalk and a chalkboard or a whiteboard,” she said. “It would take a tremendous amount of time. With the iPad, we learned to draw atoms in about five minutes.

“They can visualize the particles and see the energy in the atom,” she said.

The benefits outweigh the negatives. In a society that is becoming more and more driven by technology, teachers can use the iPads for engaging, relevant, and age-appropriate resources to enhance the learning experience, DeCocker said.

On top of that, it gives students a mode of communication.

In one of her classes, DeCocker gave a quick quiz, one which the students can see whether he  got the question right as soon as they answer. Assessments can be created for immediate feedback and grades can be accessed.

The release told of Thomas Cartossa, a 12-year-old seventh-grader at Sidney, who created an avatar in an application called Tellagami. He created a cartoon-like presentation to show how he uses an iPad during science class.

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