WRPS plans to update classroom technology - WFXS, MyFoxWausau - News and Weather for Wausau, WI

WRPS plans to update classroom technology


Kirsten Johnson has been using iPads to help teach an eighth-grade English class at East Junior High School in Wisconsin Rapids.

"I think the students, overall, are much more engaged with what we're doing in the classroom when they get the opportunity to work with curriculum in a format that, frankly for these kids, is much more familiar to them," said Johnson.

The iPads are part of a pilot program to test tablet technology.

Students say they like them.

"People usually want them, but they're so expensive that they don't get a chance to use them," said Kayla Wentland, East Junior High School eighth-grader.

That's why the Wisconsin Rapids Public School District wants to bring touch-screen technology to younger students.

The district's educational services committee decided to buy iPads for kindergarten through second-grade classrooms.

"They really have an innate ability to use these technologies, like touch screen. They just come up to the devices, and they can use them," said Phillip Bickelhaupt, Wisconsin Rapids Technology Director.

"The hands on learning, the opportunity to actually get to interact with it, young kids are very much wanting to get their hands into things," said Johnson.

The iPads would replace old desktop computers.

The plan calls for the district to buy about 600 iPads.

Bickelhaupt said that would cost about $450,000.

"Really, none of this stuff is free. It all costs money," said Bickelhaupt.

He said the cost will be covered mostly by money from a settlement with a computer company.

"It's a large pool of money in different area that are going to all pay for this, and thank goodness we're able to do that," said Bickelhaupt.

The school board will vote on the measure Monday.

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