Small town district taking the technological lead

By Erica Quednau |

Published 05/07 2014 04:18PM

Updated 05/15 2014 09:43AM

Update: 10:14 pm, 5/14/14, Wednesday
ARCOLA -- The Arcola School District is becoming a technological trendsetter. Officials started a new program to bring iPads and digital learning to all its students making it the first school in the state to do so. It will also be one of the smallest schools in the country with the program. Wednesday, an open house showcased the venture. Fundraising is underway. A half-million dollars is needed to finish the program.
Original: 4:18 pm, 5/7/14, Wednesday
ARCOLA -- Students are bringing technology to the classroom. Starting this fall, the Arcola School District will be the first in the state to give an iPad to every student, kindergarten through 12th grade. WCIA-3's Erica Quednau has this Classroom Connection.

It's making school cool for kids. Back in the day, lugging all those heavy books around school wasn't fun and it was a killer on the back. Imagine replacing it all with an iPad. People say it's the first step to 21st century teaching.

"Always their noses in their iPads."

It may sound like bad news for many of you, but not here.

"Which is awesome. And everybody's learning which, that's important."

"We've been doing a lot of math and reading."

Bethany Wellbaum's students are one of the only classes getting in on the district's pilot program for iPads.

"We've got some classrooms doing a true one-to-one environment. We've got other classrooms sharing iPads and other classes doing small, small sets of iPads."

"Since we have our own, we can just look it up and it's much faster."

"Oh, it's changed everything. Individualism. They can actually work at their level and creativity. The project is they're producing right now. Man, they can be so creative. Without question, we find the best results, the most effective impact on changing classroom instruction and giving student learning its own environment where we have one-to-one."

That's why, next year, Superintendent Tom Mulligan is excited to give every student his and her own.

"It was kind of a shock at first because we didn't think in such a small town, that we could do something like that."

"Now, we're saying, we want you to create your own imovie trailer, depicting this time in history."

Which makes going to school even more fun than it was before.

"I think it kind of does, yeah, at least to me."

"It's more fun to not be just reading out of textbooks and have a boring day. It's nice to be able to use technology."

"If we're going to engage kids in school, we've got to go this direction."

People in the community are coming together to help raise money for the One-to-One Digital Learning Program. They expect it to cost about $500,000.

For more information, click here. Follow the district on Twitter or email.

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