December 21, 2012

Local children experience gift of learning via tablets

GRADY COUNTY — For a second grade Christmas party, where a combination of sugar and holiday enthusiasm usually make for a rowdy environment, the students in Judy Ratzlaff's class were pretty quiet.

About 30 parents, grandparents and grandparent substitutes were kneeled down with their children, watching them use their new Android tablets.

Each student has his own tablet, but the real gift, according to Ratzlaff, is that learning is now fun.

There are games that make learning the ciriculumn, including math, so much fun that the students don't want to put the tablets down, Ratzlaff said.

"Even though they're working, it's not work for them," she said.

The class still uses books and paper, but every morning, the students ask when they can get their tablets out.

"They'd do it all day if I let them," Ratzlaff said.

The class started with one tablet, Ratzlaff said. After a time of playing around with the one tablet, it seemed that this would fit their needs. The tablets allow the class to interact with the SMART Boards in Ratzlaff's classroom.

"Our kids are loving them. They're real excited," Ratzlaff said.

Currently, Ratzlaff's class is the only class in the school to have the tablets. The students like that they don't have to go to the library or the lab to take tests. Now they can take them right at their desks.

Another benefit of the tablets is that the students can work at their own pace. The tablets provide immediate feedback, so that Ratzlaff is instantly aware of problems and the class can work on them together.

In case their are problems that the students need to take home to work on, Craig's PC donated a wireless laser printer.

Ratzlaff is quick to credit the school administrators for supporting her and her class in getting classrooms up to date technology wise.

Todd Bunch, Ninnekah Public Schools Superintendent and Steve Callen, Ninnekah Elementary Principal have been a tremendous help, Ratzlaff said.

Craig's PC Sales and Service donated a computer and helped with researching the tablets, Ratzlaff said. Parents donated the styluses and headphones for the tablets.

Raising the money to buy the tablets was a community effort. During the fall festival, various businesses and individuals donated to the silent auction. Businesses from Ninnekah and Chickasha also contributed.

While Ninnekah is a small town and limited on where they can get funds locally, Ratzlaff said she was never turned away empty handed from any of the businesses when she went looking for support. She said she feels very blessed to live in such a community and that the children are very grateful as well.

After their Christmas party, Ratzlaff said the students wanted to stay and work on the tablets.


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