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iPad donation helping Wayne Country Day School third-graders

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 13, 2012 1:50 AM

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Hiwot Shaw, a third-grader at Wayne Country Day School, works on an activity on the iPad. Through a donation to the school, the class received an iPad cart with 20 iPads and a MacBook Air.

Nine-year-old Cam Gerrard is calculating how much money he has available to buy parts for a rocket.

The third-grader at Wayne Country Day School has a budget, he says, gesturing to the screen of his iPad.

"You can go to the main menu and you can go to earn money (to purchase parts)," he said.

It's all part of a game, he explains, but for the NASA aficionado, it could one day become a reality.

Cam has an iPad at home but says he was unfamiliar with the app until his class recently received a stellar donation -- an iPad cart with 20 iPads and a MacBook Air used by his teacher, Dawn McDonald.

"I can control all the iPads from the (MacBook) Air, to keep them all synched," she said.

The donation afforded iPads for every student in the class, which are being used for group lessons as well as individual study.

"We have done scientific research, we have been able to pull out our science textbooks on these, we have got apps on here that they can play," she said. "They have got their own homepage. They have all gotten to personalize their iPads."

Students can even practice cursive writing, she said.

Hiwot Shaw, 9, demonstrates, using one finger to trace letters on the screen.

Her favorite activity, though, is a game called "Paint Sparkles."

"You draw different things but you have to unlock them," she explained. "You can pick what brush you want, you can take pictures of it.

"I didn't know what to do at first so I just clicked on one of them. It was hard because you have to go back and forth and back and forth."

Noah Shaw, her brother, is also in the class.

"I like watching 'Brain Pop' movies. You see little movies that teach you stuff," he said. "When you're done with movies, you can take a quiz to see if you listened or not."

The class has obviously embraced the new technology, their teacher said, which lends itself to being easily customized.

"Tactile, the visual, all the different learning styles, because all kids learn differently," Mrs. McDonald said. "At the school, we have a Mac cart that was used with laptops. This obviously is a little more sophisticated.

"Apple is also coming to train the teachers. We're hoping in the future to have more carts."