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Kindergarteners get iPads for school

Sep 12, 2011 12:05pm
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(NECN/CNN: Elizabeth Cohen, Auburn, ME) - A school district in Maine has a unique approach to raising its low test scores, giving an iPad for every kindergartner.  

The Auburn, ME school district spent more than $200,000 to outfit every one of its 250 kindergarteners with the tablets, along with sturdy cases to protect them.

School officials say they are the first public school district in the country to give every kindergartener an iPad. Mrs. McCarthy says the tools give her 19 students more immediate feedback and individual attention than she ever could.

"As much as you would like as a person to get to everyone right away and individualize, sometimes you can't." Kelly McCarthy said.

40% of the third graders in Auburn are not reading at grade level. Superintendent Katy Grodin says to the goal is to fix that number.

"We put a stake in the ground that our kindergarten classes from here on out by the time they reach third grade, and leave third grade that 90% of those students are meeting benchmarks." Grodin said.

There's no question that the kids love their iPads.

A study done last year shows kids with too much computer time were more likely to have psychological problems. Some experts worry too much screen time takes them away from reality, and away from face time with other kids and teachers.

The school district is also making sure that doesn't happen.

"We are really going to make sure that they are outside playing as well. Interacting with each other, they are interacting with adults besides using the tool that we are giving them." McCarthy said.

Soon, the school will find out if the iPads help or hurt, when they test the kindergarteners' reading and math skills in November.
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