School Purchases iPads for Students in Need

Kids in the Van Buren School District are putting down their books, and picking up iPads instead.

The school district purchased 60 iPads for students to learn how to better communicate in the classroom, according to one of the district’s speech pathologists, Kendra Fanning.

“This provides them a voice,” Fanning said. “It provides them with a non-bulky way to carry around what they want to say.”

For third grader Parker Gregory, an app is now one of his favorite teachers. He is just one of the students that works with Fanning at Rena Elementary. Currently, Parker’s practicing saying his ‘r’s’.

“I know for sure that he works on ‘r’s’ a lot, he has trouble with his ‘r’s’,” Parker’s mom, Pam Gregory, said. “They have lots of apps on the iPad that help him with that.”

“I work on their articulation which is the way they say words,” Fanning said. “I work on their grammar. I work on sentence structure. I work on their memory skills, their reading and their phonics.”

Using the iPad in the classroom helps Fanning track each student’s progress, and allows her to work through the curriculum with each student at his or her own speed. It also makes learning more fun, Fanning said.

“The students, they light up,” Fanning said. “They are eager. They want to do more repititions than we usually do when we use standard paper and pencil.”

The district purchased a total of 60 iPads, which were distributed strategically throughout the school district. All together, the iPads cost the school’s Special Education Department $24,560.

Before the school district moves forward purchasing apps, students and teachers are working together to figure out what apps work best.

The iPads were delivered to teachers and students Friday, Jan. 18.

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