Newspapers in Education goes high-tech with use of iPads,
  even in second grade

Posted by Dave Barber, Manistee News Advocate reporter
April 17, 2012

Lillian Mauntler was reading the News Advocate one day last week in her second-grade classroom. She sat, quietly, and turned page after page — on her iPad computer.

“I like the iPad because it is more fun,” said the young niece of teacher Ben Mauntler. “It is more fun because we don’t get lost. We get to scroll down. The iPad doesn’t rip.”

Classmate Abaigeal Gale also enjoys reading the News Advocate on her iPad computer. “When you read the newspaper on your iPad, you can go on lots of articles,” Abailgeal said. “The newspaper is something that you find out what is going on, like if there is a tornado coming.”

Mauntler has about two dozen youngsters in his second-grade class and every day they use their iPads to carry out assignments, including reading their local newspaper — the News Advocate — as part of their regular Newspapers in Education program.

“Every one of them enjoys reading the newspaper online,” Mauntler said. “They like selecting their favorite stories, and more. We’ll get to talking about one of the stories and that discussion will lead to another, and that’s good as far as education goes.

“It’s incredible how many of the kids have really picked up how to use their iPads, and they work with things such as their hometown newspaper.”

With the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic being in many newspapers recently — including the News Advocate — Mauntler said his students can keep up with current events online.

“We read about the Titanic (in the News Advocate last week,” he said “That’s in the news right now. (Some students) wanted to know if anyone is still alive (from the Titanic), and we just went to Google to find out. One thing leads to another, one discussion leads to another.

“A lot of times (the news) is about them. There was an article in the News Advocate about our school recently and we went back and looked at that. They had fun with that.”

Maegan  and Madalyn enjoy reading with their iPads

Cadence McWain said she enjoys reading the News Advocate on her iPad, too. “I like the iPad version more than the paper version,” Cadence said. “I don’t have to use a pencil. I can type on the iPad. You can learn a lot of new things on the iPad, like the meanings of the words. You can look up stuff on your iPad, like information about the things in the (newspaper) articles.”

Sophia Wisniski agreed. “I like the iPad version because it is more fun,” she said. “It is more fun because you can easily slide from one page to another page. We can search the newspaper for (related) information. We can define words we don’t know on the iPad.”

Sophie and Cadence check their iPads

ONEKAMA — There is a blackboard on one wall of Ben Mauntler’s second grade classroom in Onekama. Actually it’s white, but you get the picture.

Colorful blocks of cardboard spell out the alphabet above that work board, the latter which also has the “Daily Schedule” written in one corner. A globe sits in one corner and several plastic baskets filled with crayons, markers, glue and more, rest on one table against another wall.

From first glance, his classroom looks like any other that might have been found in an elementary school in the past several years. An American flag, books, lockers, coats and more can be found, too.

And then technology takes hold.

“Okay, let’s take out our iPads,” Mauntler told his students one day last week. And, just like that, the young students do just that — they take out their small, hand-held computers and they learn about modern-day technology. “We read our newspaper (the News Advocate) on our iPads,” Mauntler said. “But we do so many other things on it, too. They do use them (the iPads) every day. A lot of the applications we use are games, but they’re educational games.

“But we just don’t play on them, we read books, create our stories and more. We have one ap (application) that allows me to give them an assignment and when they complete that assignment on their iPad, they can send it to me and from there I can edit it, change it or leave it, and then send it back to them with feedback. The future of technology is here, now.”

And that future, Mauntler said, belongs to his students. So much so that he realizes that some of them may already know how to use computers more than he does. “When we first got the iPads — the very first day that we got them — many of them had ever seen them before,” Mauntler said. “But by the end of the day they were already doing assignments on them.”

Within hours, he said, many of his students picked up the concepts of how to use the small computers.

“I didn’t have a lot experience with them (the iPads),” he said, smiling. “But you get 25 little minds together and pretty soon we were able to figure out an awful lot. It was very motivational, for lots of reasons. It’s fast. It’s the Encyclopedia Britannica and more. It’s fast. It’s easy and quick to have them turn in their assignments (on their iPads) and within probably 10 minutes I can have their assignment back to them with any editing they’ll need to do.”

While Mauntler’s students use their iPads for many educational purposes every day, he still asks them to resort to more traditional pencil and paper effort, too. “We’re going ‘paperless’ more and more,” he said. “But some things we’ll still do on paper, and that’s important for them to do that, too.”

And is it possible that as young as they are, some of Mauntler’s students might know a bit more on how to use their iPads, than he does. “Probably,” he supporting an ear-to-ear grin. “Probably half of the them do (know more than me). Absolutely! And I’m not afraid to admit that, either.”

Madison Hall said she looks forward to using her iPad in the classroom. “It helps me read better,” she said. “It helps you learn about information. It has news on it.”

Ellery McIsaac said she also looks forward each day to using her iPad. “I like to use the iPad because you can go back where you were,” she said. “And, sometimes, you can see stuff in the newspaper that isn’t in the paper version.”

^Sophie and Cadence above

<Left Teigan leads to all pages since 1997