iPads in local math class yields staggering results
Almost half of students jump two levels
Last Updated: 448 days ago
SAN DIEGO -
Innovation Middle School teacher Julie Garcia is in tears.
"I love seeing students succeed, it makes me feel really good," said Garcia, a 7th grade math teacher.
She's emotional because she's about to give good news to her student, Jenny Rodriguez.
Jenny used to be below grade level in math. That was a year ago, and now she's considered "advanced," and the payoff is worth it.
"I feel great, I feel stunning, I can't wait to tell my dad about it," said Jenny.
Jenny's achievements are because of the iPad and a new program called "flipping."
As part of the program, students at Innovation Middle School watch their teacher's lectures at home and then do homework in class. Students are also tested every day to see what they're missing so teachers can provide one-on-one attention.
"We get to work with each one, figure out what they get and don't get and help them overcome those hurdles," said 8th grade math teacher Mike Salamanca.
Despite all the testing, students don't seem to mind.
"It helps tremendously," said 8th grader David Vargas. "It's like the tutor I never had."
It was an experiment Innovation Middle School, a charter school with public funding, started last year. So far, it's yielded staggering results.
Forty-four percent of the students using the iPads in class increased two levels. Education experts said many students typically decrease levels in middle school.
But all of that technology comes at a price. 10News reporter Natasha Zouves investigated the cost and learned one math class spends $13,200 on iPads. Additionally, there's Internet costs, which is an additional $3,696. That means one class for the first year is $16,896, and school administrators said that money has to come from somewhere.
"Specifically, we've let go of two or three actual positions so we could allow for other things necessary in our budget," said Innovation Middle School Vice Principal Nicola Labas. "We've all picked up the slack. I answer the phones now."
Labas said it was a hard sacrifice to make, but the priority has always been education.
Bill Freeman, president of the San Diego Education Association, told 10News he couldn't disagree more and called the decision "tragic."
"Educators aren't always the people who are standing in front of the kids. I guarantee you those positions had a vital role to those kids and to their education or those positions wouldn't have been there," said Freeman.
Innovation Middle School teachers said it was necessary to sacrifice those positions last year so that students like Rodriguez could succeed today.
"Now I just want to tell my dad, 'I'm in advanced, aren't you proud of me?'" said Jenny.
Jenny said she loves school, but today she can't wait to get home to her dad.
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