Technology Replaces Tradition in Charlotte Co. Schools

Phenix, VA - Charlotte County schools have gotten a big advancement in the classroom with new iPads.

"First through fifth have the ability to take pictures, so they have the ability to do projects, take pictures, download them and put them in booklets, portfolios," said Beverly Jones, principal of Phenix Elementary School.

Jones says the iPads will actually replace the school's computer lab. All 260 students and teachers will have their own equipped with apps for all subjects. That includes kids in kindergarten too.

Now, the move toward technology has been in the works for several years in Charlotte County. Before the children can learn, the teachers are trying to get a grasp of it all before school starts on Wednesday at Phenix Elementary School.

"Well, 10 or 15 years ago it was just set at the desk and read and totally pencil paper," said first grade teacher Rhonda Poindexter.

But this year things will be different in Poindexter's classroom. Everything she needs is on this iPad.

"I got an iPad last year, but before that it was totally foreign so it's all been new," said Poindexter.

Jennifer Roller has been training the teachers to use the technology for weeks, depending on how much help they need. She says it's more of a learning curb for the teachers than the kids.

"And so now that they've seen it for a few years, any new teachers that come in the kids are like, 'No push that button, push that button,'" said Roller.

Even if they may know a little more about the iPads now, Principal Jones says this move toward project based learning will help the students continue to evolve.

"If these children learn in K, by the time they get up to the 5th grade it'll be unbelievable what they'll be able to do," said Jones.

Now, iPads will be used in all 15 classrooms across the school. That means kids as young as 5 years old can pick it up and find apps like one called "Phonics Fun." It's used for language and to help reading skills.

Parents like Kim Jeffreys say it's the kind of learning they hope will benefit all children.

"Like Noie, her learning is a little bit different from Hannah's so this will help her find fun ways to learn stuff instead of constant repetition," said Jeffreys.

Jones says the school got these iPads because they are a title one school. A school is given that classification when at least 40% of the kids get free or reduced lunches.