COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE: Charter school hands out iPads to students

About 50 Pikes Peak Prep charter school students will begin using iPads in their core classes this year. It’s a move educators hope will cut costs and expand students’ learning opportunities.

“It’s better than staring at paper,” said 10th-grader Eileen Alvarez.

The 15-year-old on Wednesday demonstrated the virtual frog dissection application that takes users step-by-step through the process on the hand-held tablet computer — minus the wet, squishy bits.

Science teacher Marlene Duran is thrilled with the visual and auditory abilities of the high-tech tablets. The frog dissection app not only goes through the experiment but contains pages of information on the amphibians and a biological comparison of frogs and humans.

“Students have a library at their fingertips,” said Pikes Peak Prep Principal Patricia Arnold.

The management company for the school, the GEO Foundation, and the school board decided iPads would make a good investment. Arnold said the iPads are expensive (about $500 retail), but probably cost less than replacing worn-out or outdated textbooks year after year.

Screen shots of any work done on an iPad can be sent to a teacher, akin to handing in traditional work on paper.

“Any time you have interactive technology it’s easier to learn,” said 10th-grader Adrian Martinez, 15.

For now, students can use the iPads — which are to stay in the school building — during their four core classes: math, science, language arts and social studies. However, Arnold said there are plenty of apps that may be used in language, music and art classes in future.

Math teacher Andrew Pompelia has spent about a week searching for applications and figuring out how to incorporate the iPad into his teaching.

Apple has hundreds of educational apps. Many are free, others cost $5.

Pompelia also is using his iPad for class administration, including attendance and e-mail.

“I never have to be behind my desk, I can always be moving among my students,” he said.



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