Grant gives students rare access to iPads

Published: Feb. 23, 2011 at 10:50 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 24, 2011 at 3:34 PM CST
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By Holly Brantley - bio | email

MCLEANSBORO, IL (KFVS) - Twenty-one southern Illinois classrooms now have access to cutting edge learning with iPads. It's thanks to a grant that includes a traveling set of iPads through Southern Illinois University and the State.

For a closer look at the process, Heartland News visited with a class at Hamilton County High School as they got a lesson in frog dissection through the cutting edge technology.

Short of the smell of chemicals and texture of the animal, students feel they actually got a better look at the process including the animals' organs through the screen, and state-of-the-art graphics.

"It shows you step by step what to cut," said Paige Rawls, a senior in Fred Vallowe's Anatomy class.

Paige has only been working with the iPad for a few minutes, but already she is able to explain the process of dissecting and what goes on inside the frog through the touch of the screen.

"You touch the internal organs," Rawls demonstrated. "They spin around."

Recently, Mr. Vallowe's class dissected pigs. The students say the iPad is much quicker and cleaner.

"It was a lot easier on here," said Rawls.

"It is wild how real those graphics are," said fellow senior Kayla Kreher.

Erin Miles is the project manager through the partnership for Improved Achievements in Science through Computational Science.

"As a teacher I recognize that most of the schools don't have the funding to do the types of hands on work the iPads offer," said Miles.

Miles travels to the 21 schools who take part in the program weekly to allow students to participate.

"We're limited on what we can teach because of money," said Mr. Vallowe. "A lot of money goes into buying text books. I mean when you dissect pigs you have to pay for the materials again and again. This makes more sense economically."

Vallowe says in 28 years of teaching experience, he is very impressed with the iPads, and how they literally get to the heart of the lesson material.

"It's better use of time and we don't get lost in dissections gone wrong."

Vallowe says the applications walk students through at their own pace, and leaves more time for discussion.

Miles says she only knows of a few schools in the country that have an iPad for each student. She says SIU is excited to provide more local schools with access to the technology.

The grant was written by Associate Professor Dr. Frankson Mumba. The funding of $530,000 is available through the end of 2012. They hope to extend the grant and open up the program to more schools.

To learn more including how your school could get involved, go to:

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