If you're a parent or student, you know learning these days involves a lot more than textbooks. Many districts now provide kids with take home ipads or other tablet devices, but it does create challenges.
It looks like a game, but it's a movie and created on an app where kids become filmmakers.
"I definitely think that digital production is the future of learning," said Cassie Quigley, a professor in the Department of Instruction and Learning in the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.
With iPads and other tablet devices, kids aren't just passive learners but creators and participants. It's why more and more districts are providing them, including Bethel Park, Mt. Lebanon, Pittsburgh, Shaler, Gateway and North Allegheny.
North Allegheny Superintendent Bob Scherrer said it's changed learning in a good way, "The students are really engaged in the learning in different ways because it's a tool they're used to."
Scherrer told Channel 11 kids have take-home tablets in first through eighth grade.
"We use them in a variety of ways," said Scherrer. "We have online resources that tie into our textbooks."
The tablets have filters to prevent kids from visiting inappropriate sites or distracting social media.
Quigley said districts have quickly adapted to improve programs and their approach.
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"I think initially with iPads or tablets there was a real quick adoption, let's get one in every single hand of all of our youth and I think as school districts have gotten smarter about well what is it we want to do with this device and how can it help student learning?" said Quigley.
The process is not always seamless. Channel 11 polled districts across the region and found common challenges reported; Training staff to keep up as technology quickly changes, dealing with updates and upgrades. Also, there are associated costs, from wireless connectivity to inventory.
But it's one of the many tools educators are looking towards and using within the classroom.
"This is not something that's going away, so we need to help support students in making smart choices," said Quigley.
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