Bishop Canevin High School students are going “far beyond the textbook” after the Catholic school purchased new iPads for the entire freshmen class.
The pilot program funded with federal stimulus money is putting the new computerized tablets in the hands of all 100 freshmen and the 25 eighth graders who are in advanced classes.
Bishop Canevin Principal Ken Sinagra said they are encouraged by the early success of the technology and could expand it to more grades next year depending on funding.
“I didn’t quite expect the kids to pick them up so quickly and be so receptive this quickly,” Sinagra said. “The feedback has surpassed all of our expectations. Our students are using them daily.”
He said the students immediately became attached to the devices, taking notes and sending e-mails to their teachers on the first day. The school has purchased apps for the Algebra curriculum that is cheaper than text books, Sinagra said.
“They love them,” he said. “They pick up so quickly on the technology. They knew how to work the functions and how to store notes. A lot of them already have the understanding how to use them.”
Sinagra said applications as simple as Apple’s Garage Band make it easier for teachers to experiment with instruments that are not readily available. The school continues to expand the technology by adding 30 WiFi connections throughout the building.
“We’re just amazed by the vast usefulness of this piece of equipment for education,” Sinagra said. “It’s absolutely amazing.”
The school spent $480 for about 145 units and another $50 for each one that has an Algebra app. But the hard copy text book is more expensive and many other apps are free.
Now Sinagra and his staff are monitoring whether the devices are actually helping the students to learn. He thinks they are an overwhelming success, but won’t make a final judgment until the end of the year.
”It will take a year to determine whether the students learn better with this piece of equipment,” Sinagra said. “Our hope is that our kids will be ready and one step ahead when they get to college. That’s the whole objective.”
Bishop Canevin accepts students from , St. Philip’s in Crafton, St. Margaret in Green Tree, Holy Trinity in Robinson, St. Patrick’s in Canonsburg, John F. Kennedy in Washington, St. Mary of the Mount in Mt. Washington, and St. Malachy in Kennedy Township.