New iPads Replace Textbooks for GISH Science Students

By: Erin Myers Email
By: Erin Myers Email

Forget pencils and notebooks. Grand Island Senior High students now have their hands on the latest technology.

"This is about 18 months of planning all coming together today," said Josh McDowell, Director of 21st Century Learning for Grand Island Public Schools.

1,038 iPads were handed out to students enrolled in science courses. The iPads will be used during class time but students can also take them home.

Science teacher Amy Boyer says, "I'm excited to use our new textbook that we have online so they can access not only textbooks but they can access flash cards and videos that go along with what we're learning."

Boyer says sometimes the initial excitement can overshadow the lesson plans.

"I am worried about it being a distraction but I feel like this a responsibility that they need to start learning to take on because this is where the world is going," said Boyer.

And that responsibility also means liability for any damages to the device. Grand Island Public Schools offers students the option to enroll in a low cost protection plan for their iPad. A $15 fee covers the student's device for a year and each damage incident has a low deductible amount. Freshman Nate Graves says he's not concerned and the technology is a better trade off.

"It's just easier to work with in the classroom. You're listening to the teacher and whatever she does on her iPad you do on yours. Just the same things without pencils and paper," said Graves.

Thursday's distribution of iPads to science students is just the beginning. The rest of Grand Island Senior High's student body will receive iPads in August 2013.

"The big thing is that it is 24/7 access to the resource. The iPad is for kids here at school but they can take them home so it's an access piece that's engaging. This is the world that kids live in so it's time that we catch up," said McDowell.

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