Many local schools are using more and more technology to improve and engage students.
Calvert Catholic Schools integrated the use of iPads into its class rooms during the spring semester of 2011-12.
It has five iPad carts, each with 30 iPad 2s that teachers can use in their classrooms, two of which are used at the elementary school.
Calvert Catholic Schools students use iPads.
Science teacher Chris Camm has a 100-percent iPad integration in his biology classes.
"This class is a pilot class," Michael Schumacher, director of development, said.
The class is just the first phase of a total integration.
Eight students in Camm's class have purchased their own device.
"They offer a greater sense of flexibility for the students," Camm said.
The students use an online textbook and work on research projects that they are able to submit online. There are many applications that the students use in the classroom such as "Moodle," an online classroom that some universities and colleges are using. Students are able to take quizzes and tests online, use videos, audio and weblinks, and create documents and presentations.
"It is a lot easier to grade, and for students, it is a lot less stressful for them. It also allows for less paper consumption," Camm said. "I've seen students become more mature and engaged in their learning. They've gained high levels of work ethic and professionalism."
The quality of work also has increased, Camm said.
"I've seen a jump in motivation in learning and higher test scores," Principal Dominic Helmstetter said. "(The iPads) opened the window to experience new and exciting things."
The school is looking to incorporate the iPads in the entire school.
"We are discussing with parents and students the possibility and their financial standpoint," Helmstetter said. "But it is a way down the line before that happens."
Other technology that Calvert has incorporated into classrooms are flat-screen televisions, 11 Apple TVs, SMART Boards and 67 new desktop computers that were used to equip the labs.
"This is sparking creativity and fun with learning," Helmstetter said. "It is accelerating the learning process and providing endless opportunities with a new-age style of thinking."
On the horizon, Calvert has plans to turn its old library into a STEM Educational Center with a virtual/digital library, classroom and research and reading area.
"We had a space that was not being utilized," Schumacher said. "We wanted to create a place and continue to be a leader in education and technology."
The center is to be completed by mid to late February.
St. Wendelin Catholic Schools in Fostoria is also on the path of integrating advances in technology into classrooms.
This year, through fundraising, donations, fees and grants, the current freshmen have been equipped with iPads that they are able to keep with them and take home.
"We wanted to get the technology into the hands of students to help prepare them for the skills and knowledge that they are going to need in the future," Principal Mike Amlin said. "We wanted a technology that they were familiar with."
Individual teachers are finding the applications that meet the need of the curriculum. For example, in science classes, students use apps to diagram atoms and dissect a frog, before doing it in the classroom.
"This program is just in the beginning stages. Our goal is to look at what is successful and where we need to improve and progress to be more successful," Amlin said. "Technology is basically the use of knowledge and information to access and analyze for the students to be able to create new ideas and new solutions that are more effective and efficient."
Last spring, Rotary Club of Tiffin donated an iPad learning cart to Tiffin Middle School. The cart included 30 iPad 2s, a charging cart and a MacBook Air for managing and syncing apps.
The cart is used mostly by the seventh- and eighth-grade science classes for research and to supplement science instruction.
Science teacher Becky Grammer said, "After receiving the iPad cart from the Rotary Club, it created a big question for me, 'What is the best way to use iPads effectively in the science classroom?'"
"There are a lot of different directions we could go. For now, we are using them to enrich the topics that are being covered in class," Grammer said.
For example, the class has used YouTube to research different areas.
"One of the classes researched underwater caverns and sink holes. The students were able to find information that included several photographs and videos for virtual tours of the underwater caverns," Grammer said.
The classes have used other apps, such as Khan Academy and TED; these apps offer video clips of several science topics.
"The students are able to watch the clip several times to help them understand the concepts of the lessons. Each student has the power to control the pace of their learning," Grammer said.