Weatherford Democrat

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October 31, 2012

Learning through 'edutainment' at Springtown ISD

PARKER COUNTY — Springtown elementary students will have a new way to learn this school year.

Through grant funding, Springtown ISD purchased a cart containing 23 iPads, as well as a MacBook Air, to distribute at Goshen, Springtown and Reno elementary campuses as an alternative way of learning.

“That’s enough for one classroom, so we rotate them,” Springtown superintendent Mike Kelley said. “The teacher is able to download an app to the MacBook Air and transfer that app onto the students’ iPads.

“The teachers were trained about a week and a half ago on it, and it’s just really neat technology.”

The progress of the iPad implementation was presented to board members during Monday night’s meeting.

The devices were purchased back in September, and Kelley said the students were immediately engrossed in the computers.

“Like a duck to water,” he said. “If you watch a kid with any mobile device, a smart phone, a laptop or a tablet device, they understand and know how to use it. They think they’re playing a game, but they’re really learning at the same time. We like to call it edutainment.”

Kelley said there are a variety of apps per device, covering subjects such as reading and creative writing.

“I had the privilege of visiting Reno [Tuesday] morning and watching these kids with these iPads,” he said. “Some were reading a book and having their voices recorded. Others were using it to takes quizzes on reading tests and some were building a graph to work on their creative writing skills.

“The kids love it, and if we can put something in their hands that they’re drawn to and help them learn, then we’re doing pretty well.”

Also on the agenda, Springtown ISD trustees discussed and approved two amendments to the district budget.

One amendment shows an addition of $897 to the Function 23 funds, for school administration, as a reimbursement for two elementary administrators who will participate in a professional development activity through the Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association. The other adds $40,203 to Function 71, or debt services.

“Our chief financial officer Gary Shaw shared that we underestimated costs associated with purchasing two new buses,” Kelley said.

As a result, the $40,000 will be transferred into Function 71 to complete the purchase, he added.

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