Tablets finding a home in R.I. classrooms

'...when they say there's an app for that, there really is.'

At the Rocky Hill School in East Greenwich, Jonathan M. Schoenwald, head of school, is looking forward to the September session. That’s because the school will try a new program, issuing iPads to its middle school children. The private institution already has 30 iPads available to its students, from preschool to fifth grade that were shared between the classes as part of a trial run from last year. “We’ve adopted the use of the iPad wholeheartedly. We’re starting [out with middle school this year] but that’s almost 80 students,” he said. “That’s a pretty big commitment.” More

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Focus: EDUCATION

Tablets finding a home in R.I. classrooms

'...when they say there's an app for that, there really is.'

COURTESY ROCKY HILL SCHOOL LAUNCHING PAD: Rocky Hill School students, from left: Zachary Jennings, Dylan Lehouiller, Austin Marsilia and Kai Yates. The school is trying a new program, issuing iPads to its middle school children.
COURTESY ROCKY HILL SCHOOL A NEW APPROACH: Third- and eighth-graders at Rocky Hill joined up to use an iPad app that teaches children about making change. From left: Ava Lamoureux, Sara Laurent, Hannah Stowe, Cailee DeAngelis.
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Posted 8/6/12

At the Rocky Hill School in East Greenwich, Jonathan M. Schoenwald, head of school, is looking forward to the September session. That’s because the school will try a new program, issuing iPads to its middle school children. The private institution already has 30 iPads available to its students, from preschool to fifth grade that were shared between the classes as part of a trial run from last year. “We’ve adopted the use of the iPad wholeheartedly. We’re starting [out with middle school this year] but that’s almost 80 students,” he said. “That’s a pretty big commitment.”

The use of computer tablets as teachings tool in Rhode Island school systems is no longer a debate. The day has arrived.

The Chariho Regional School District, serving Charlestown, Richmond and Hopkinton, has already purchased several hundred iPads for students and is exploring giving every high school and middle school student a tablet or a laptop computer.

West Warwick is ready to pilot a Windows-based tablet program in two of its elementary schools. Providence is using the iPad to evaluate what teachers are doing in the classroom and the Rhode Island Association of School Principals is training educators from 15 public school districts on how to use the iPad in the classroom, in the central office and in special-education settings.

Rocky Hill has been a proponent of personal computers in the past, having required high school students to own laptops for years, so the use of iPads is not a giant leap, but a logical step forward.

“It’s something brought in by Thomas Adams, our new director of technology. He is always looking for creative ways to help teachers teach,” Schoenwald said.

“Whether it’s math, reading or writing, when they say there’s an app for that, there really is,” he said. Schoenwald estimates there are about 20,000 apps available for educational purposes.

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