Berwick - Feb. 28, 2011 - The benefits of an apple a day are paying off in a whole new way for students at North Stormont Public School in Berwick.
Students in Grades 4-6 are using Apple iPads in the classroom to learn about everything from math manipulatives to details about the solar system during a unique initiative called the iLearn Project, led by Principal Jane Bain and teacher Terry Gove.
Staff started the project in September, using the iPads for arts programming. The project was later expanded to other areas of the curriculum when the teachers saw how effective the iPads were in increasing student engagement, said Bain.
"I think what (an iPad) does is it helps us to individualize learning and make it more relevant to our students," said Bain. "Everyone can be learning the same thing but through different applications to process the knowledge."
The project began in September when the school received a $10,000 board arts grant to bring 20 of the high-tech devices to the school to offer arts programming to students through unique Apple apps.
The idea was to increase the engagement of students by providing new outlets for them to learn. Apps for the pads allow students to learn how to play virtual instruments. Students were able to explore the arts without the school having to invest in brass band equipment, pianos or other traditional instruments associated with arts education.
"What we're trying to do is up the engagement," Bain explained.
"We researched a number of different apps and found that kids could learn to play guitar or piano on their iPads, do an analysis of movies or go to the Web site for The Louvre and search pictures of famous paintings, then talk about art."
Other grade levels are also using the iPads. In kindergarten with the help of a teacher, students are using an iPad tracing program, allowing the children to trace around letters and develop basic literacy and fine motor skills.
Students say they love learning with the devices.
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