The Ottumwa Courier

Education

September 19, 2013

Compact computers help Cardinal kids

ELDON — It's bigger than a smartphone but smaller than a laptop. And students in the Cardinal school district like the "tablet" computers the district began distributing a year ago today.

"The Kunos are a lot smaller and easier to [carry] around," said Zack Steele, a freshman who has been using a school-issued computer device of one sort or another since he was in sixth grade.

Before the Kunos were handed out, he and his classmates carried laptop computers. At Cardinal of Eldon, students in grades six through12 take their computer devices home with them. Superintendent Joel Pedersen said the contract for the Apple computers had expired, and so the district took the opportunity to update technology.

The new tech has advantages.

"I came from a district that had MacBooks, and the only way students there can get articles [assigned by the teacher] is to get on the Internet before they leave school and download it to their computer," said Jeremy Hissem, the sixth through 12 secondary school principal. "But here, teachers can 'push out' articles or videos to 30 students at once. It takes about a minute."

Having everything they need on one medium-sized device means students whose families don't have Internet aren't left behind.

"They have the [information] at home," said Hissem, "or on the bus coming back from an away game, even if they don't have Internet."

When in locations where they do have Internet, students can use email, search engines or direct suggestions from the teacher.

"They can put links to where they found the original material," Zack said.

That way, students who want to know more can follow the teacher's tracks, seeing exactly where an assignment came from.

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