iReading, iRiting, iRithmetic

Tablets teach North Bend kids
2011-09-15T11:00:00Z iReading, iRiting, iRithmeticBy Jessie Higgins, The World Coos Bay World
September 15, 2011 11:00 am  • 

Seventy young faces stared, mouths open. Some leaned forward to better see the North Bend School District's technology specialist present 10 iPads to two sixth-grade classes.

'Basically, you are the first people in the North Bend School District to use iPads," Suzy Callery told the two classes.

Several students began to whoop.

'So who wants to use them first?" she asked after a lengthy question-and-answer session.

Seventy students leapt to their feet, arms raised, and shouted a collective: 'Me!"

Callery smiled. She has worked all summer with teachers Judy Wicks and Jina Dunning to bring iPads into their classrooms at Oregon Coast Technology School, a charter school within the North Bend district.

So far, the teachers have developed a few iPad-based projects and plan to download many books for the students to read, Wicks said. From there, she plans to wait and see what else she and the students come up with.

'It is a learning experience," Wicks said. 'We'll see where it takes us."

Everything the students do on the iPads must have educational value, Callery said.

'Can we play games on them?" one student asked. There are many fun, educational games out there, Callery answered. Such as Touch Physics.

'What about Angry Birds?" another boy asked, referring to popular video game.

'I'm working on an educational value for Angry Birds," Callery answered with a laugh.

In the front of the room, North Bend Middle School Principal Ralph Brooks, there to watch the demonstration, started taking pictures with Wicks' personal iPad.

Several students began teasing him for straying from the educational mission.

'I'm not playing, I'm demonstrating," Brooks announced.

Brooks said he is happy to bring updated technology into the classroom.

'These are the types of things kids are using now," Brooks said. 'If you ask a kid a question, they pull out their smart phone to look it up. Why are we asking them to go back to the way we learned?"

Callery, who spearheaded the effort to bring iPads to North Bend, said the devices will be an incredible tool for learning. Students can choose their favorite topics, while still learning the fundamental standards, she said.

'You can learn to write a sentence while studying ancient Egypt," Callery said.

If the sixth-grade classes successfully incorporate iPads into the curriculum, Callery hopes to introduce the device into other North Bend classes. Each iPad cost about $500.

Last year, Callery ordered smart pens for several teachers to use with their students. A smart pen can record conversations. Then it uses special paper to mark segments of the audio recording. Then, if you go back and press the pen to that part of the paper, it will play back the marked audio segment.

'You ought to see what the kids do with them," Callery said.

One child used a smart pen to complete a book report, Wicks said.

The student recorded herself reading the report, then drew pictures on the special paper to correspond with different sections of the report. When she pushed on the paper next to the picture with the pen, the class could hear that part of the report.

Now, with the iPads, Callery is excited to see what the kids do.

'What do you want to learn?" she said. 'How many things do you want to learn? How many books do you want?"

Reporter Jessie Higgins can be reached at 541-269-1222 ext. 240 or jhiggins@theworldlink.com.

Copyright 2016 Coos Bay World. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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