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Danville Schools working to bridge digital divide

Published On: Apr 07 2014 06:15:56 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 07 2014 07:25:50 PM EDT

Students can use iPads in the classroom, but most don't have one of their own to take home


In Mrs. Stephanie Haynsworth's fifth grade class pencil and paper are gradually becoming ancient history.

Her students, including Nicolas West, are finding iPads are the most fun way to learn.

"I think it's cooler because we actually, we can see it, and instead of just writing it, we can put it in a lot faster," West said.

Whether it's the touch screen or the technology, it's captivating.

"The students are always engaged. Instead of having to sit up and listen to me speak the entire time, they're actively trying to figure out what the problem is," Haynsworth said.

Her class is one of a few classes within the Danville School system that use iPads daily. Depending on the school and the class, every student has access to a computer or iPad for classwork. Right now students can't take that technology home to finished their work or start on the next day's assignment. That's what the school board is calling a digital divide.

A study of classrooms and schools from a team from within and outside the school system is recommending a one-to-one technology program.

"The focus up front would be that these be assigned to a student for the year and they will actually, in addition to them be assigned to them during the day, the would have the opportunity to take those home," said Melany Stowe. She co-chaired the technology committee. The team is working on what they call phase one now: working on ways to pay for the idea, how many to buy, and where they'll be best used.

She says the idea opens up new ideas for traditional classrooms.

"Instead of investing possibly in a set of hardback textbooks, what's the cost to invest in a textbook that's digital. So it's a mindset and a shift," Stowe said.

Danville schools are in essence ditching the out-of-touch classroom to prepare Mrs. Haynsworth's fifth graders, and all students, for a world in-touch with technology.