The Free Press, Mankato, MN

November 24, 2012

Family, Consumer Sciences departments add iPad labs

By Amanda Dyslin
The Free Press

MANKATO — Due to grants from Discover Financial, the Family and Consumer Sciences departments at West High and East Junior/High schools have purchased iPad learning labs.

West teacher Laurie Hagberg wrote a grant over the summer and shortly after learned the school would receive a $17,000 Pathway to Financial Success Grant, aligning with the senior-level course Senior SMARTS. But the new technology will be used in other classes as well, Hagberg said.

East also received a grant from Discover, totaling about $16,000 for iPads to be used for various courses, said Mary Draper, family and consumer science teacher at East.

“We are very excited,” Draper said via email. “The focus of the grant was to further consumer education. We just received the iPads (recently) and are starting to incorporate them into our units.”

Hagberg said the focus of Senior SMARTS is to educate young people about modern-day financial literacy concepts. The class helps ease the transition of high school students into college, the military and employment.

“The goal is to provide awareness concerning the importance of using individual credit wisely. In the near future they will rent apartments or buy vehicles requiring a positive credit history.”

The West iPad learning lab consists of 30 iPads and a MacBook Pro laptop, among other things. The department is exploring various apps and adding them to the curriculum as they see fit.

The addition of the technology at West is allowing for implementation of Moodle, Mankato Area Public Schools’ online learning platform; Google Sites; Remind101, a safe way for teachers to text students and keep in touch with parents; Quizlet, an online way to create flash cards; Playspent, a financial interactive game; and Financial Football, an online financial game in which teams compete by answering financial concepts to gain yardage and score touchdowns.

Draper said East is excited to have access to apps designed to help teach consumer studies and finance, as well as food and nutrition, design, child development/parenting and interpersonal relationships. 

Ahn Enright, an East seventh-grader, told Draper he’s really liking using the iPad in class.

“It’s not like a book,” he said. “You can’t watch stuff and see stuff like this in a book. An iPad lets you see things happening and you can make things happen.”