ST. CLOUD - With school resuming after winter break, area middle school students continue to adjust to more technology in the classroom.

About a month ago, all middle school students in the St. Cloud area school district received iPads to use in and out of class on schoolwork.

Students use the app Notability, which allows you to write, type and draw on a blank document. The app is used for anything from math to language arts. Teachers also download educational games to use in class.

8th grade math teacher at North Junior High, Elise Genereux, says she enjoys the iPads because they keep class organized.

"All of their assignments are being handed in electronically to me, it's really nice as a teacher to not be bringing a bin of papers home and back and forth [to class]" Genereux says.

Students say they've enjoyed having the lightweight iPads compared to books, but have also run into challenges adjusting to the technology. 8th grade student Sydney Doto says the iPads make note-taking more challenging.

"When you're typing it's kind of hard to make sure you're doing everything correctly, when you erase, it sometimes erases the entire line-you can't just erase part of the line," Doto says.

6th grade student Ephan Logeman says he's also run into difficulties using the iPad.

"I'm about half and half right now-it's a lot easier to carry around and it's quicker, but it's a lot smaller and it takes longer to erase," Logeman says.

7th grade student Alexa O'Konek says the adjustment to iPads is challenging, but says it's making learning smoother.

"I think it's easier because you have all of your stuff on there so you aren't losing papers or your homework, we all get used to it eventually as we move on," O'Konek says.

Teachers prepared to use the devices since October with workshops and training sessions. Teachers can now grade and provide feedback on projects instantly with the iPads. The district hopes the devices give teachers opportunities to be more flexible with their lesson plans and offer more individual instruction to their students.

"The more that they use it-the easier it gets, and looking forward to their futures every single job now involves technology, so I think it's going to help them and give them that extra bump,"  Genereux says.

Middle schools in District 742 include North Junior High, South Junior High and Kennedy Community School.



iPad being used by students at North Junior High. (Dan DeBaun, WJON News)