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Bonneville Joint School Dist. 93 adds technology to classrooms

The schools of tomorrow are here today, according to School District 93 in Bonneville County.

New technology in the classrooms this school year is getting students clicked into learning in a whole new way.

Ann Rockwood, a sixth-grade teacher at Iona Elementary School, can’t get enough of the Neo.

“We use them a lot of different ways in the classroom,” Rockwood said.

From typing skills to math practice to interactive quizzes — the Neo is a keyboard with a small screen, which almost makes a pen and paper obsolete in Rockford’s class.

“We don’t want to totally rely on the Neo,” Rockwood said. “I think they still need the skill of being able to write things.”

Each Neo costs about $220.

Thanks to part of a $1 million-plus grant from the school district, every fourth- through sixth-grader in Iona Elementary can use one.

Rockwood said that the technology helps to keep her students on the same page — figuratively speaking, of course.

“They’re pretty cool,” said one of Rockwood’s students, Junior Pena.

“They’re easier and fun to do, and they make it kind of easier to do our stuff,” said Cailyn Orton, another student in Rockwood’s class.

“We wait till 100 percent have responded (to a question),” Rockwood said. “They have to answer, but yet they don’t feel threatened by having the wrong answer or raising their hand.”

Meanwhile, 10th-graders in Dale Walker’s biology class at Bonneville High School are logging into an iPad app to take a quiz about cells.

Walker said that since each student in his class was issued an iPad, thanks to that same grant, it’s made heavy textbooks seem archaic.

“Instead of reading a textbook, they can see and touch a part of a cell that they are interested in,” Walker said.

“It’s so much easier to understand different concepts because there’s animations and different things like that,” said Miklo Cureton, a 10th-grader.

“It’s really helpful because (the iPads) have the internet so we could look up other sources to find information,” said Bailey Storms, another 10th-grader.

Social media sites, as well as any other site considered irrelevant to the learning process, are blocked on the iPads.

“I have found them to be extremely useful,” Walker said.

The only real controversy in the classroom comes from a rumor that an iPad app might replace dissecting animals, which is something that many biology students look forward to.

“The experience — that’s always gonna be a memory,” Cureton said. “It’s like, ‘Oh, I remember dissecting an animal in science class.'”

“I’d rather be with a real animal,” Storms agreed.

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