LONDONDERRY — Tiny fingers fly across the keyboard at lightning speed.
A pilot program is now underway in all three district elementary schools, bringing the iPads into primary classrooms. Moose Hill kindergarten also is in the program.
One class at each elementary school is using iPads. A total of 15 devices make up the pilot program at a cost of about $400 each.
One recent morning, students in Kathy Gifford’s class at North Elementary were playing games teaching letter recognition and simple math problems.
“I like that we can do these games,” Hailey Bride said as she worked on her iPad.
Putting iPads into young hands is part of the school district’s efforts to bring technology to the youngest students. Many children are quite familiar with electronic devices before they ever enter school.
“Knowing the environment they are growing up in, we felt it would be a good next step,” superintendent Nathan Greenberg said.
He said the iPads will assist students with reading and math instruction, and will increase their ability to stay on task to do their classroom work.
South School Elementary reading and first-grade teachers all use iPads. One first-grade teacher has a set of five to use with small groups.
“They are used for drill on skills that have already been taught, such as phonics, spelling, math facts and counting,” principal Linda Boyd said. “The reading team has inputted all the spelling units for first grade for the year and the program generated such games as Hangman, word sorts and memory games.”
Boyd said her team will order iBooks to teach the young students how to page through a book on an iPad.
The devices also offer a tool for assessing how well students read, Boyd said.
“This is definitely an important tool for this age group,” she said.