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Apps in the Classroom

February 9, 2011
Fourth-grader Tyler Rigney used an iPad during a reading comprehension exercise at DrewMason Elementary School in Ridgeway, Va. At right, teacher Kristie Gardner assisted Greyson Tinch.

 

Last fall, Rebecca Allen distributed brand-new Apple iPad tablet computers instead of books to her fourth-grade class at the Rich Acres Elementary School in Martinsville, Va. The students went wild. “It was like Christmas in October,’’ the teacher said.

“It was fun watching the kids jump right in,’’ Allen added. “They are so used to technology, they took to them right away.’’

The iPads are part of an ambitious pilot program by the state of Virginia, targeted to a generation that has grown up surrounded by computer screens and digital gadgets. The devices offer a digital platform for longtime print textbook publishers like Pearson Education Inc., the British publishing firm with large divisions in Boston. Last fall, the company launched what it claims is the nation’s first-ever complete social studies curriculum for the iPad, in partnership with Virginia officials.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Co. has also redesigned a classic textbook to take advantage of the iPad. Since early September, around 400 students in California have been learning algebra via a new iPad-only program designed by the Boston company. More…

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