Elementary kids get new technology for back to school

Elementary students in the New Prairie Union School Corporation are saying good bye to textbooks, and hello to technology.

This year, the schools have introduced iPads as a new way to learn. Textbooks have not completely vanished, yet. Subjects like math, social studies and science still require a hard copy, but faculty hope in time they can move to a 100% digital approach.

Right now, the only program that is completely online is Reading. Other classes are using the iPad as a learning tool and a hands-on way to engage students.

According to staff, the iPads are cheaper too.

"It's fiscally responsible for our taxpaying community, it's cheaper. Textbooks cost a lot of money when you have to pay for a textbook over 6 years, and a digital subscription usually saves between 25 and 40 percent," said Carrie Cannon, the director of curriculum at New Prairie Schools.

In addition to cost, staff says space was a reason for the switch.

"Right now we have a capacity issue with that, we don't have enough computer labs to support the demands from the Indiana Department of Education," said Cannon. "We now have a keyboarding expectation from state as well."

Next year, middle and high school students will also use iPads in the classroom. For now, just elementary students, grades K-5, are testing out the tablets.

The iPads are funded by the school through a refinanced bond, capital project funds and textbook rental fees.


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