Florence fifth-graders drop textbooks for iPads - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Florence fifth-graders drop textbooks for iPads

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FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) -

High-tech classrooms are the wave of the future and Florence City Schools has embraced the digital world by launching its "iPad Initiative."

Students in grades 5-12 have been issued an iPad in place of textbooks.  

 "When we first heard we were going to have ipads in 5th grade I was excited," said fifth-grade math teacher Marti Smith. "But I was a little apprehensive thinking about all of these potential distractions right at their fingertips.

"But as we got into it, the possibility of learning tools in every child's hand is just amazing."

Smith now creates innovative lesson plans -- integrating the standard pencil and paper with the gadget.

The possibilities are endless.

Within the 50-minute class -- students worked together as a class -- solving problems from their seat. They then broke out into several groups: some got virtual lessons, others worked with the teacher, some worked in groups.

"We all like our iPads and we never take our eyes off them," said Will Jordan. "I was very excited because I've never played on these before or learned on it."

Jatavion Lovelace and Jordan say they use their iPads at home for both schoolwork and play.

 "I use it ‘cause every time I get home, I face time my friends and we do homework together because my parents do not get the math part of homework," Jordan said.

 "I go to show me and I do my homework and then my mom lets us go out and play and then we come in for dinner and she lets us play on our iPads," Lovelace said.

 Smith says the technology engages and motivates students without losing fundamental skills.

"One of the problems with video games is kids get stuck in the game and don't ever communicate," she said. "But we do a lot of communication. There's a lot of collaboration - they work together, they may go to a website or textbook, but they're still working in groups and comparing answers and helping each other."

Officials at Florence City Schools say they encourage parents to embrace the technology with their students to help build a platform for future success.

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