Last year every eighth-grade student at received their very own iPad 2 courtesy of the Speedwell Foundation, the Shelter Hill Foundations and the Net-Texts Pilot Program. The program was so successful, Bob Baldonado, assistant principal, expanded it into the seventh grade classrooms as well. The iPads replaced textbooks for the eighth-graders and are supplementing texts in seventh grade.
This program allows teachers to combine educational resources on the Internet with more conventional teaching materials thus creating a customized, hands-on learning curriculum. Baldonado said the teachers are allowed to design their courses as long as they cover the required curriculum set forth from the Office of Catholic Schools in the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta.
The startup of this program was a lot of work on the part of the teachers but the transition from textbooks to iPads was a breeze for the students. At an informational parent/student meeting, Baldonado said studies show today's students have a different way of learning and teachers need tools to capture their interests and spark their curiosity. iPads are a wonderful tool in the classroom because they are more engaging than traditional lectures and handouts. It is the hope of the school's administration and teachers that the students involved in this initiative will be better equipped to solve problems using technology.
Melinda Martin works in Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School's communications department.