Oct 30, 2012 2:23 PM by Erin Schermele (erin@krtv.com)

iPads for students are helping some Great Falls schools

iPads are now a daily part of learning for kids at Chief Joseph Elementary School in Great Falls, thanks in part to a $1.1 million dollar grant.

Renae Weisenberger, a math teacher at the school, noted, "The engagement has improved tremendously. Obviously the more you get them active in their learning the better the outcomes."

The new tools came to the school as part of a federal grant to improve reading skills, and is already opening avenues beyond teacher's hopes.

She said, "The kids typically not engaged in class are so excited to do a project, where before they would be so completely tuned out, and then I come in with the iPad and the teacher's like, 'I have not been able to get him to do one thing today until you walked in with the iPad.'"

As a tech coach, Jessica Louk visits each class once a week; she says the instant feedback students get from the iPad is saving teachers time and helping students become more efficient.

Louk said, "They realize when they make a mistake reading, I need to re-record that, I didn't sound good, and so just seeing those kids be so independent with their learning...you want them to be able to correct themselves, thats what you are going to do later in life..you are not always going to have a teacher around."

While some may criticize youth's reliance on technology, Louk says it's just another tool, and it's working: "Kids are wired differently today and they are the digital generation and they need to be taught differently."

Valley View Elementary School also purchased iPpads with their portion of the grant money; they work with the same tech coach, and are working toward having a set for every class.