How students still complete assignments on off-days at one district thanks to their iPads

ipads-homeRecovering lost instructional time caused by snow days has been a source of great frustration for West Virginia’s educators, but the recent utilization of take-home technology is proving to be a game-changer, says one Kanawha County school official.

Leah Sparks, the technology director for Kanawha County Schools, has spent several years planning for a district-wide technology program that has culminated in the distribution of nearly 10,000 iPads this school year. While the program is still in its infancy, Sparks said she already is receiving reports of teachers and students connecting through the devices even when they aren’t in the classroom.

“If you have power and Internet, there’s really nothing that can stop learning from happening,” she said.

Using technology to expand the learning environment is one of the most talked about subjects among educators in West Virginia and across the country. Devices like iPads or Android-based tablets have become must-haves in many districts as school officials look to create “anytime-anywhere” learning environments not restricted by the four walls of a traditional classroom.

Doing so lets teachers and students continue coursework even on days like today when weather cancels school.

Sparks said teachers are still figuring out how best to push daily content to their students, but said resources that help make that happen have been made available by the state Department of Education.

Next page: Working through the home access hurdle