By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY—Oak Mountain Elementary School first grade students have been able to supplement their learning with iPads, thanks to a $5,000 grant from Cawaco Resource, Conservation and Development Council in partnership with State Senator Jabo Waggoner, R-Birmingham, and Rep. Arnold Mooney, R-Birmingham.

On Feb. 12, the OMES students and teachers had a chance to present how the iPads have been implemented in the classroom.

“We use our iPads in so many different ways,” OMES first grade teacher Anne Neighbors said. “We really appreciate your generosity.”

OMES first grade teachers applied for the grant with Cawaco and received funding to purchase two iPads for each classroom.

Students use the iPads to further reading, math and research skills. The iPads are equipped with educational apps such as Scholastic News and games to reinforce conceptual math and sight word reading, Neighbors explained.

“A lot of schools are taking advantage of technology to not only enhance students’ learning, but to make it fun,” Drayton Cosby, with Cawaco, said.

Using iPads in the classroom also introduces the students to using technology in an academic setting at an early age.

“(iPads) allow these young students to access so much more information so much quicker,” Waggoner said. “There are so many educational advantages.”

“They’ve got to realize how to use these (iPads) to be where they want to be as a scholar,” Mooney added, explaining “the future of our world is in electronics.”

OMES Principal Debbie Horton explained the iPads allow teachers to take classroom learning “to the very next level” and also achieve the school’s goal of preparing students for not just the next grade level, but for a successful future beyond school.

“We prepare them for jobs that have not yet been created,” Horton said, noting the importance of technology in current job market. “They are preparing themselves for a future that has not yet been created.”

– See more at: http://www.shelbycountyreporter.com/2015/02/12/omes-first-grade-brings-technology-into-the-classroom/#sthash.GAQJ7Au0.dpuf