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A New Age of Education

Technology changing the way students learn.
ALTOONA - Keeping up with the times is a challenge we all face and schools are far from the exception.
 
“When I went to school we had typewriters, not computers,” Spring Cove Parent Jennie Glass says.
 
High school students are now armed with their own laptops. Elementary School students are learning math, not with a pencil and paper, but an I-Pad.
 
"I guess we would say we are the immigrants to the technology and with young children they are the natives. They are essentially born with it in their hands,” St. Marys Elementary School Principal Bob Grumley says.
 
That has created a constant challenge for schools in Central PA.
 
 “If they go on to higher education they are expected to use these and use these tools in their classes from the beginning,” Spring Cove School District Superintendent Dr. Robert Vadella says.
 
Spring Cove School District underwent some major changes this year giving each student grades six through 12 their own personal laptop to use both in school and at home.
 
 “We're out in the Cove. We're kind of sheltered from the world everybody says, so it's nice to see everybody keeping up with technology and equipping our kids for the future,” Spring Cove Parent Shawn Holsinger says.
 
And while you think that would come with quite the price tag, the district says it's actually saving money.
 
“Once you can do something like this, put the computer in every students hands and do it cheaper than what we were doing before I think the decision made itself at that point,” Dr. Vadella says.
 
Penns Valley High School in Centre County has been giving their students computers for two years.
 
“I know going off to college next year I really appreciate all the different ways we've interacted online because I know it'll be like that next year with professors,” Penns Valley Senior Taylor Noll says,
 
“It's a lot easier because in my other school when we would work on a project we would have to pick a computer and stay with it and we wouldn't be able to take it home to work on it,” Penns Valley 7th Grader Gabe Wert says.
 
Tests, projects, and even grades are all done online.
 
“Our teachers don't have to be experts in technology. Our students don't even have to be experts in technology. It's about learning together and learning from each other,” Penns Valley Superintendent Brian Griffith says.
 
The advancements aren't just for in the classroom. At Penns Valley say you're a little too sick for school. You can video chat into class, without even missing a beat.
 
And they're not the only ones.
 
St. Marys Elementary School recently had a student hospitalized for two weeks, but thanks to an I-Pad and Facetime…
 
"We set it up at their desk. They raise their hand and it's as if they are in the classroom and it's awesome," St. Marys 1st Grade Teacher Heather Hanes says.
 
Both teachers and administrators know this is probably just the beginning.
 
“It's not going away it's going to become more and more popular every year and the kids are ready for that," Hanes says.
 
And the schools plan to do anything they can to help prepare kids for college and beyond.
 
“If we're not trying to align our instruction with the way students learn and the way they interact with the world, then we are failing our students,” Griffith says.
 
Schools have been able to save money in most cases by switching to laptops because of a leasing system that brings in new computers every four years. A lot of money has also been saved buying digital textbooks instead of hard copies.

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