For many kids, using a touch screen tablet comes naturally. Bishop Grimes Prep in East Syracuse recognized that and decided to have their textbooks tailored for the generation that grew up around technology. Starting this year the private catholic school will give all 7th graders an iPad mini and lesson plans will be built around interactive texts and applications.
"They have to be able to get excited about their learning, that will bring them into the room more, they will be more engaged in the class and the activity," said Bishop Grimes principal Marc Crouse.
On an iPad, pictures and diagrams in a traditional textbook can be presented with video or interactive tools. French teacher Patrick Kinne says the iPads will engage students better and allow them to experience France's culture. Kinne also hopes to use Skype or other apps so students can live chat with those who speak French fluently.
"It takes the language really outside the classroom walls which for a language teacher, that's the best thing you can do," said Kinne.
"You're not just getting a digital textbook, that's just a small piece of the puzzle. You're getting a multimedia notebook that you can go out and create things for classes. You can go out and find research," said Crouse.
Bishop Grimes has filters in its wireless network to block unwanted websites and teachers can always check to make sure everyone is on task.
"The teacher can see what's on everybody's screen at the same time. I can be the teacher at a certain point and pull up all 23 screens and see what they're doing," said Crouse.
Bishop Grimes is the first school in the Syracuse area to give each student an iPad. The cost will be covered by the private school's technology fee.