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Local Educators Hack Their Way To Better Teaching

Walk into any Chenango Forks classroom this Fall and you won't see students reading from textbooks...

"We're taking information that teachers already have. That they're already using in the classroom. And putting it together into an interactive iBook," said Cheri Panko, Technology Leader.

Educators attended a three day Hackathon workshop to learn how to compile their teaching materials into a platform that can be accessed by any Apple system, from anywhere.
 
"Every teacher here will be able to write their own textbooks, customize their own textbook. And take that stuff that they have scattered all over their computer, and bring it all under one nice little umbrella," said Keith Rosko, District Technology Integration Specialist.

Teachers here are using iBooks Author to put everything into their curriculum from videos, pictures, charts, and even sounds.

"It allows us to do everything we would normally do with pencil, paper--and do it virtually. and more importantly, in a much more active and enticing way," said Rosko.

Chenango Forks began using digital textbooks last year, and teachers like Maureen Gregory say they think students retain information better when it's an interactive process.
 
"It allows the students to make that actual connection to what you're teaching them and showing them on the board," said Gregory, a middle school science teacher.

"Kids are going to consume media anyway, that's just the way it is...Part of our task is to teach them how to be more intelligent consumers of media. And then take that to the next step to utilize media to teach what we want to teach in a better way," said Rosko.

And teachers say it's easier for them to plan lessons as well.
 
"I don't realize I'm working. I go home and i'm excited about the stuff that we did. I'm not tired and want to sit down and relax, I want to do more planning," said Gregory.

"If anyone said, 'you can't teach with iPads,' I don't think I would have taught," said Panko.

This year 75% of students in the Chenango Forks district will have their own tablets in the classroom.

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