Some of the fourth- and fifth-graders used the wireless Google Nexus 7 computer tablets to play Lightbot, a puzzle game that introduces programming fundamentals. Fifth-grader
"You can actually have friends," he said, and recommend which books to check out. "I sent 77 recommendations for a book."
Milligan suggested the Nexus 7 tablets will be a useful addition to the library. "When we can't go in the computer lab, there's those computers," he said, pointing to two laptop and three desktop models along one wall of the media center. The new devices mean many more students will be able to use computers during the four days they visit the library every week.
The 10 Nexus 7 tablets were recently delivered to Poyner after it was chosen through a
"I always joke I'm a technology integrationist without technology," said
Webb takes students to the computer lab as often as possible, but sometimes they're already being used by a class. She had been planning to use money raised through the book fair and a raffle at the school's fun fair to buy more computer technology for next year before Poyner won the drawing. "I have been trying so hard to get something, so it's such an answered prayer," said Webb.
When classes come to the library, she said half of the students will check out books while the other half uses the tablets. Part way through the 50-minute period, the students will switch.
That will make the computer teaching Webb does more hands-on. Typically students have had to watch as she led such lessons, like a recent one on computer coding. Now a whole group of students will be able to follow along on a device while she demonstrates.
The foundation awarded grants during the last two years for 30 Apple iPads at two different schools. The district also makes funding available for such purchases, including fairly large pilot projects approved by the board. A total of 160 iPads and 165 Android Asus Eee Pad tablets were purchased for selected schools in 2011 while 240 Chromebook laptop computers were purchased for some schools a year ago.
"We're very cognizant that technology is not going to be a silver bullet or a magic wand," said O'Brien, noting the devices need to be paired with good instructional practices. "In the cases where (technology is) used effectively, it absolutely can be a powerful tool to enhancing student instruction."
As tablet computers and other technology expand in the district, "we want to make sure that we're doing that in a thoughtful manner," he said.
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