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Dawson School uses iPads to enhance youth learning
With the introduction of the Amazon Kindle, the world began to see a movement toward e-books. Lightweight and small, these reading devices were seen everywhere, from airplanes and boats, to road-trips and vacations. Following the Kindle, Apple released the iPad and Barnes and Noble, the Nook. Now, these e-book reading devices are popping up everywhere but most notably in classrooms.
Alexander Dawson School is just one school using the devices to enhance learning. But there's a catch. The students who are using the iPads aren't college students, nor are they high schoolers. They're fifth and sixth graders.
The private K-12 school bought the iPads to see if they could improve interactive learning at a young age. The school's headmaster, Brian Johnson, was inspired to try an e-book with the students after seeing the benefits of his own Kindle.
"I found myself learning words that I did not ever bother looking up previously [using a book]. We thought, there might be an opportunity to use some sort of device like the Kindle," Johnson said.
The iPad was released soon after his epiphany, and after seeing the extensive programs and applications on the iPad, the headmaster and his staff decided to bring them into classrooms for a two-year trial.
So far, students and teachers have really taken to the iPad. Researchers agree there are many perks to using the iPad with younger students.
Ben Van Dusen, a University of Colorado education researcher, said, "One of the larger advantages of the iPad, especially with younger students, is that it's hands on and intuitive. It's all one package where all of the applications are easily loaded on there. It's incredibly simple to use so it lends itself to younger students very nicely."
Headmaster Johnson also made note that younger students may prefer iPads because they are able to type up all of their notes on the smaller device.
Another perk? A lighter backpack.
"I like being able to read on an iPad because it's easy and you don't have to carry the book and worry about it ripping," said Dara Kissel, a fifth grader.
So far, the future of the iPad looks good for Alexander Dawson. If the iPad proves to be beneficial in the classroom, students at the K-12 school may soon see the electronic toy in every classroom.
"We feel like we have an obligation, to see if this works and to get the word out to other schools, that if it does work, schools everywhere, public schools, private schools, everybody can benefit from that," said Johnson.