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High school students subject iPads to educational test

A summer semester class in Wyoming’s Natrona County School District is piloting 12 Apple iPad tablets to explore how they can best be used in classrooms this fall, reports the Billings Gazette. So far, students have used the iPads to search the internet for information and type simple notes, but teacher Debra Park hopes to add applications such as a writing-prompt generator. The new devices haven’t been a burden to learn; using them is intuitive, Park said. The iPad doesn’t have a way to connect to a printer, so the students eMail their text and print from a laptop. Summer semester is only a few weeks long, so the students likely will read contemporary short stories, which can be hard to find in books. Students are taught not to write in books in school, and many students don’t take in-text notes because they have to erase them later, Park said. Electronic screens, however, allow students to highlight and make notes on “pages” to be saved for later. Above all, the technology alone can hook students into learning, she said, and it’s what they’ll use in the workplace and college. Internet monitoring software won’t run on the iPad, but Park said she can better observe student behavior with iPads. Instead of seeing the backs of computer screens, she sees how students hold and use the iPads. If students are typing when they’re supposed to be reading, they’re not working. When Park’s class uses district computers during summer school, she has to wheel a large utility cart down the hall. Sometimes, the computers aren’t charged. The iPads hold their charge longer and can be carried in a small trunk…

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