Willard, MO — WILLARD, Mo. -- An Ozarks elementary school is finding new ways to teach young students reading, writing and arithmetic.
Ask any teacher, they'll tell you it's hard to keep students excited about learning all year long. "That is a challenge to keep kids engaged and the more hands on they can, be the better they'll do when learning," said Willard East Elementary 1st grade teacher Robin Kramer.
The latest hands on tool to make its way into the curriculum of willard east Elementary school teachers are iPads. "You give them these tools and they're engaged quickly," said principal Melinda Miller.
Teachers love it. "There is a plethora of apps out there for elementary teachers. Lots of word building, apps where you have to decode sounds to spell it," said Kramer.
The kids can't get enough of it. "There's not one child in my class who has had a hard time picking up on it," said Kramer.
14 Willard East classrooms now share the iPads. And while not a conventional way to learn, teachers say they are helpful. "I think it's not better, just different for younger kids who haven't developed fine motor skills," said Miller.
Robin Kramer says it's a great way to give students the instant feedback they crave. "It's things we can do without the iPad, but kids are driven by the graphic or sound that tells them that they're right," she said.
They're just another tool in the teacher's toolbox. "It's not the silver bullet. It's important that kids have book and pens and pencils and learn authentic literacy as well as technology," said Miller.
The iPads were paid for with money designated for technology.