HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - It's been about a month since the Horry County School District started distributing iPads to all of its middle schoolers, and so far, teachers say they are a success.
April Johnson is using them at Aynor Middle School to teach her eighth grade students math. She's been teaching for 19 years, but this is the first time she's used the digital device. She says she likes the iPads because of how interactive they make learning.
"I propose a question, they send me the answers, and I can see if they understand the questions we just talked about," says Johnson.
Johnson says the new way of teaching is much more efficient, and she finds her students, like Ashly Simmons, are more eager to learn.
'It makes things easier to learn, and it's quicker, and I think I learn more," says Simmons.
But a recent study has shown that what teachers choose to use iPads for in the classroom can make a big difference. For example, some say downloading textbooks is less effective. Textbooks may be cheaper, but downloading them to a tablet wastes hard drive space and doesn't engage students.
At Aynor Middle, teachers use several interactive applications like Aleks and Socrative, all approved by the district, and so far, the principal says they are happy with the results.
"We are seeing students learning a lot of things that they would have had to wait and rely on a teacher to share with them because they are being allowed to work at a faster rate," says Robbie Watkins, the principal.
The Horry County School District spent over $2 million to provide nearly 10,000 iPads to students. They also provide ongoing training so teachers can learn new apps that work best for their class. Over the next three years, the district will be expanding the personal digital learning program to third through twelfth graders.