High school students learning with iPads in the classroom - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

High school students learning with iPads in the classroom

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LEXINGTON, SC (WIS) - IPads are one of the hottest tech items out there right now, and some Lexington high schoolers are getting them for free thanks to a bond referendum passed in 2008 that included millions to be used for updating district technology.

Amanda Hajji was a student at Lexington High four years ago, but now she's a french teacher who can't wait to put a new tool to work in her classroom. "As a foreign language teacher, we're really excited to have it," said Hajii.
     
Hajii and her students will soon be studying French through newly-issued iPads. Lexington District One is giving them out to every high school student and teacher in the district. "There's Skype, there's endless possibilities where eventually they'll be able to communicate with native speakers in different countries," said Hajii.

"It's a living breathing textbook that can be updated anywhere, any time," said District COO Jeff Salters.
     
Salters says the iPads are much more than just a cool toy, and represent a larger push from the district to make their students more competitive. "These devices level the playing field and open the doors to a world that's a lot smaller than it was when we were in school," said Salters.     

The more than $3 million investment was made possible by a 2008 bond referendum aimed at modernizing the districts technology. To students, it's learning in a language they're already fluent in. "The kids really jump right through it, and it's nothing to them," said Salters. "It's what they do every day." 

"I just thought it was pretty cool that we'd get to use this in school," said Matthew Coon.     
     
A cool factor not lost on the former student-turned teacher. "To actually have the students get iPads is so exciting, I was a little jealous that they got them and we didn't!" laughed Hajii.

By thanksgiving, all 6,600 high schoolers in Lexington one will have iPads. Parents have been encouraged to buy insurance for 50 dollars a year, but Salters says a pilot program at Gilbert High School had very few reports of loss or damage. 

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