Wisconsin News

La Crosse school turns to iPads to enhance learning

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- - As technology continues to become part of everyday life, educators are looking for the best ways to bring it into the classroom.

The La Crosse School District took part in the nationwide Digital Learning Day by video chatting with the Wausau and Eau Claire school districts on Wednesday.

Administrators from the districts took time to share how they're using technology in the classroom.

They also talked about what hasn't worked for them.


La Crosse School District administrators say learning from other districts is a great way to improve.

"We want to make sure that we do support each other and pat each other on the backs with our successes and today is valuable in that regard because there is a very open, very candid sharing and hopefully it will be a springboard  for us and for other school districts as we move forward," said associate superintendent of instruction for the La Crosse School District Troy Harcey.

One of the main topics of discussion was Wausau's initiative to provide each student with their own iPad.

It's an idea the La Crosse school district is trying out with one of its middle school classes.

Longfellow Middle School's seventh-grade class is the first class in the the La Crosse School District to have an iPad for every student.

They've only had them for a week but it's already clear, putting technology in the students hands is taking learning to a whole new level.

You won't see piles of binders and books on the desks of these seventh-grade students, you'll see an iPad instead.

"We are almost paperless here. Everything the kids do is on the iPad," said Longfellow Middle School seventh-grade teacher Jeanne Halderson.

"Technology is essential to the world and I feel like it can help our learning. It's a new way to learn and it really opens our minds to new possibilities," said seventh-grader Cameron Crandall.

"What we're finding is we set up courses for them on the iPad and then kids can move at their own rate if they want to. What we typically might have done in a week the kids are moving ahead," said Halderson.

Halderson starts class every day.

"We just walk into class and we open up our scan app and we scan the bar code that Mrs. Halderson has placed on the door and we can see whatever she wants us to access," said Crandall. 

"The iPad opens up so many possibilities, everything from how you organize a class, to how you get the content, to how the kids display what they've learned," said Halderson.

It will take a little while to get the hang of everything the new tool has to offer but it's a step forward that leaves no one wanting to look back.

"Having an iPad really makes it so that if I have 28 students in my classroom I really can have 28 different lesson plans so each student goes to their iPad and gets what they need," said Halderson.

"I feel like a lot of jobs are now looking for people who are experienced in technology so I feel like iPads will help me with my job career in the future," said Crandall.

Over the next few years, the La Crosse School District will be working to make sure each student has an iPad.

The iPad is not the only device school districts are looking into for their students.

The Wausau School District says they are also looking at Google's Chromebook as an option because it runs cheaper than an iPad.

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