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Fair Street students may use tablet computers next fall

POSTED: May 20, 2013 9:01 p.m.

Gainesville’s technology director gave City Board of Education members a Kuno tablet computer to play with briefly Monday night.

But the device will serve a higher purpose as the school system rolls it out next school year to about 600 students in second through fifth grades at Fair Street International Baccalaureate World School.

“The amazing thing is that inside this device is every textbook a child is going to need, a complete set of encyclopedias, the complete works of Shakespeare ... all the great works of art from the Louvre, and more,” Keith Palmer said.

“And it weighs a great deal less than six or seven books and a backpack (that students carry),” he told the board.
One of the tablet’s many uses is it enables a teacher to design homework lessons and transmit them to students on their devices.

“Students complete that homework and send it back to the teacher,” Palmer said. “No trees are killed in the process.”

Indianapolis-based CurriculumLoft produces the device “specifically with students in mind,” the company’s website states.

Fair Street teacher Lindsay Brown has tried the Kuno in her third-grade class.

At first, “I was extremely nervous because I had no idea what this tablet was capable of,” she told the school board.
“But I was very surprised at how quickly I was able to catch on,” Brown said. “It is very easy to manage.”

The device was a hit with students, as well.

“The last week of school, we had to take the Kunos away from them, and they were literally kissing them goodbye,” Brown said. “I had some students trying to hide them under their shirts.”

The cost runs about $600 per device, including all-important insurance.

“No questions asked, if it breaks, they give us another one,” Palmer said.

Most of all, the device helps put all students on a level playing field, as some families don’t have Internet at home, Palmer said.

“We’re trying to close the technology gap,” he said.


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