Brian Scott, Denton County Reporter
Every Downing Middle School student has been armed with an iPad, the latest North Texas school to give students technology to make learning a hands-on experience.
The Lewisville school district says a new technology program strives to give students whatever they need to best learn in the classroom.
The district began rolling out its 1:X blended-learning program at three schools in February. Initially, it has meant giving each student an iPad, along with adding other technology, such as laptop computers, to classrooms.
Maddie Spear, an eighth-grader at Downing Middle School in Flower Mound, said they use the iPads "every day in all of our classes."
In one month, Downing students have learned about a number of apps to make their work in class more comprehensive.
"We can make presentations, study for tests, download links off of the teachers' school webs," said seventh-grader Vivek Chilakamarri while showing off an app that lets students explore the workings of a beating heart.
"We can use these things for every single subject," eighth-grader Jacob Fontaine said. "I mean, math, drama, English -- I mean, they have an app for everything."
Students in one class Monday multitasked between their iPads and smartphones as they learned about U.S. geography.
It's the essence of the 1:X program -- that the world today works off more than just one type of technology.
The district is trying to provide as many media as they can while allowing the students to add their own twist by bringing in their own technology.
"It's not so much about putting the device or the tool or the infrastructure in place as much as it is about supporting this new way of teaching, this new way of empowering students to let them be a part of that process," said Jerram Froesse, district director of educational technology.
After all, students often know how to use the technology more efficiently than teachers do, Froesse said.
"It's just new and advanced and right there in front of you," seventh-grader Luke Sullivan said.
But it's not so new that it's the classroom distraction that cellphones and video games once were, students say.
"The temptation is always there," Fontaine said. "It's just a click away and you're playing a game, but the motive to get your work done, I think, is more because some of the things you're making are pretty remarkable."
The Lewisville Independent School District has also fully rolled out 1:X at Killian Middle School and Lewisville High School.
The district said it hopes to have the program at all of its campuses within the next three years and plans to continue reforming the program as new technology is introduced.