1 to World iShowcase of Jacksonville City Schools' iPad program - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

1 to World iShowcase of Jacksonville City Schools' iPad initiative

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JACKSONVILLE, Ala. -

A day of learning not for students, but for teachers Friday at Jacksonville High School.

The Jacksonville City Schools educators learned new teaching techniques involving iPads in the classroom.

The school system began a new technology initiative this fall by providing an iPad for every student in grades four through 12.  The workshop instructors Friday are current Jacksonville teachers, who shared some of the methods and programs they used during the fall.

Kitty Stone Elementary gifted education teacher Caroline Arthur admits she was reluctant about using iPads in class.

"When I found out we were getting Macs, I was devastated," Arthur said.

"I had never used a mac before, and it took a little bit of getting used to, but I love it.  It's all I use."

She taught a workshop about using Skype to take virtual field trips.  During the fall semester, she coordinated a video conference with scientists on the gulf coast.

"My students were able to see them dissect a shark live and in real time and they thought it was just amazing," Arthur said.

She said she enjoyed the iShowcase as it gave her the chance to see how other teachers are using the same technology.

"A lot of times you're in your classroom, you're focused on what you're doing, and you don't get the experience of what's going on in other classrooms."

Superintendent Jon Campbell said he enjoys the excitement of the teachers who were not early adopters of technology.  He appreciates those educators for their openness to the iPads and their exploration into what the tools can do in their instructional program.

Campbell said students don't have to wait on their teachers anymore to decide what to learn.

"When they're excited about something in their hands, they've got the ability to reach out and learn about anything that interests them," he said.

History teacher Susan Patterson said she primarily uses the iPads to help sixth grader students learn typing skills.  She hopes to add a virtual field trip to her curriculum as well.

"Probably Philadelphia, because I've been there myself and I've been to several of the historical places in Philadelphia, and I would like for them to see some of those areas," Patterson said.

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