Greenville schools start pilot project with smart phones, tablet computers

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 10:33 am on Thursday, October 27, 2011

Greenville Public Schools teachers discuss their findings and new possibilities at a 1-to-1 Mobile pilot project training session.

GREENVILLE – Select students at Greenville Public Schools will receive new high-tech learning tools in November as part of a new pilot project.
The 1-to-1 Mobile pilot project is equipping students and staff members with smart phones and tablet computers in and out of the classroom. The devices contain enhanced educational software – with Internet access on the go – that will help students learn in new ways.

“We are excited to do it,” Director of Technology Leeanne Eyer said.

Some teachers have been experimenting and training for weeks to determine the possibilities with the technology.

Currently, about 450 students have been selected from the elementary schools and middle school to be a part of the pilot, along with some students from the high school. The program will expand to more students next fall depending on the results of the pilot project this school year.

Half of the students will receive tablet computers while the other half will receive smart phones.

The district’s technology Department is financing the $83,000 cost for the pilot project. Eyer is looking into grants and federal funds to help reduce the cost.

Superintendent Pete Haines said the project is a big step for Greenville schools. Students can see a three-dimensional skeleton and can zoom in or out and rotate it, for example, instead of looking at a two-dimensional picture of a skeleton in a textbook.

These devices also have a potential to download textbooks so students won’t have to lug a heavy bag of books to school and wherever they work on homework.

The smart phones will not have any phone capabilities and the tablet computers will include an Internet filter. The schools’ filters will restrict Internet access when students are on school grounds.

The pilot project is designed to work out kinks with the new technology and help figure out which device works best for the students and teachers. Assistant Superintendent Diane Brissette students will be teaching their teachers during the pilot project.

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