Georgia’s Gilbert Elementary replaces entire computer lab with Apple iPads

“In thirteen years of teaching, Jay Lemons has never taught a class quite like this one,” Catwalkchatt.com reports.

“At only three weeks into the new school year, he is already bragging that this year’s classes have been his best yet. In these past three weeks, the amount of motion and noise coming from the students in the computer lab at Gilbert Elementary School [LaFayette, GA] has been unbelievably low. And that’s all because, for the first time, there are no computers in the computer lab,” Catwalkchatt.com reports. “Instead, there are iPads.”

Catwalkchatt.com reports, “In an effort to keep up with changing technology and help change the way students interact and learn, Gilbert Elementary decided to use some Title 1 funds to purchase about 75 iPads for the students to use… The entire computer lab was renovated over the summer to prepare for this year’s changes. Gone are the tables and chairs, the large computer towers and innumerous wires. In their place is a friendly circle of brightly-colored bean bags, each emblazoned with a collegiate logo and holding an iPad in its lap.”

“To complete the new look of the room, Lemons himself painted a large mural of the Apple company logo against a lime green background on the room’s far wall. The iPads and the renovations were not sponsored by Apple in any way; instead the mural represents Lemons’s appreciation of the company and it’s ever-changing technology,” Catwalkchatt.com reports. “‘It’s the way of the future. We don’t want to keep it from them and have them fall behind,’ [Lemons said.]”

Catwalkchatt.com reports, “The change, he thinks, has been absolutely worth it… Everyone, he said, has been responding positively. ‘The parents love it.’ And in Lemons’s classroom and the library, the change in the students has been nothing short of drastic. ‘I know we’ve only been in school for three weeks, but you can hear, there’s no noise. The only thing you hear is the iPad. I was telling a colleague the other day that I had just had absolutely the best class I’ve ever had in my 13 years of teaching…I can’t believe it. It really is blowing my mind.'”

Much more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brock” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: Congrats to the students of Gilbert Elementary!

19 Comments

          1. Uncle Fester used to be the monopoly supplier of school PCs but he’s been replaced by Auntie iPad not least because schoolkids tend to be frightened by his bald head and extended tongue.

  1. Wow what a sad tale, and not because of the iPads, that part is cool but there are a lot of skills these kids won’t be learning in that lab and a lot of fun things they will not even be exposed to.

    When I was in elementary school we had Apple IIs and Commodore PET computers. We learned how to program using TURTLE, explored how the systems worked and our teachers pushed us to push the machines.

    Basically the computer lab at this school has become a class where kids won’t be really learning much about computers. Instead they’ll be learning how to consume content on a device that will essentially lock them out of the inner workings.

    Might as well change the name of the class at this point. Its not a computer lab anymore imho.

    If they pulled this crap at my kid’s school I’d be damn pissed as a parent.

    What a joke and a way to “lower the bar” with education.

    1. Dude, read the article. It’s not a computer lab in the sense it’s about computer: it’s a computer lab to accomadate different sciences, such as mathematics in this case.

      It’s sad if they don’t have a lab for computer sciences, but such a class would be small because of the skills need to learn programming (uh Math, English).

      What’s really noticeable about the article is the emphasis on behavior interest. Our schools suck because of a breakdown of discipline and behavior, less the teachers’ fault than you might think (or believe): The breakdown lies soley at the feet of the parent first, politicians second and administrators thirdly. Learning is hard, don’t cry to me about FUN or BORING. Shut the F up and listen, observe, ten THINK!

      Those of you crying “what about the kids’ responsibility?”, well, with all the conflicting attitudes of parents and administrators, it’s much more difficult to have a solid foundation from which to act. From a crackhead President to grandparents screaming for free healthcare to me-me parents, what can we expect?

      1. I agree with you man, it is the responsibility of parents before anyone else to provide discipline.

        lol I’m not sure I want to comment on the whole “programming requires” math and english bit. Its funny but sadly true all at the same time.

        I guess in a few years when these kids reach highschool we’ll be reading about how Automotive Shop class has no tools or equipment, it consists of the kids riding around in a prius listening to music for an hour.

        We are doomed as a nation. For real. heh

  2. I am the teacher of this lab. Thanks to my good friend Brock for posting this article, it will be exciting for my students to see it on the site. LaFayette is a small town in Georgia with a small local paper that provided this article for our local community. It is exciting for our students to see an article about their class in the paper.
    I feel I need to set a few things straight about the article and my class. First, although the article does concentrate on the behavior aspect, it really was only one question in the interview. The reporter asked how the student’s behavior compared to a standard computer lab. The answer is, there is less moving around because the students don’t jump up and move around the room to look at screens. They can simply flip their iPad and everyone remains seated. True, the year is young, but I don’t see this changing. There has NEVER been behavior issues in any of my labs, but the students are more on task with the iPads.
    Second, and most important, we feel very fortunate to have the ipads for our students to use. I teach a Math lab and the students use the iPads to practice math concepts in a fun and engaging way. Dude McFarland, this is not and never will be a programming class. I teach k-5 students with many of the younger one still crying for their mothers. I am not really interested in teaching programming skills to a 5 or 6 year old. I am however, interested in teaching them math skills in an engaging way. You are exactly right, we are allowing our students to “consume content” and that is what they are doing. I assure you, this is far from a “joke” and we are not “lowering the bar of education”. Gosh, I don’t even believe we are “doomed as a nation”. I am very proud of you for being able to program in elementary school. You must be very proud. However, that is not the focus of our elementary math lab.

    1. As a fellow teacher I am sure you review the concepts taught/learned to make sure they stick. Anyone that doesn’t realize what a great tool the iPad can be in a classroom for students to learn as an individual, well, they’re just jealous.

      You did contrast the behavior, whether it was the intent of the journalist to lead you there or not. But there’s a reason you’re the teacher and the reporter isn’t – you got balls!

    2. Thanks for taking the time to reply Jay and setting things straight.

      I’m sorry if I jumped to any conclusions that were inaccurate. I guess I have to admit that I’ve been out of school long enough now that I’m probably pretty ignorant of modern education and the challenges you guys face preparing our children for tomorrow.

      One thing I really overlooked in my post was the fact that computers have changed drastically from when I was in school learning. Thinking back to that time in my life , we probably learned programming in logo, turtle and pascal because the software was so primitive. In a lot of ways you had to learn basic or something to get the most out of a computer and some machines offered nothing more than a programming environment.

      If you have found the iPad to be a great educational tool then I wish you and your students the best with them.

      I’ll trust your professional judgement and refrain from running my fat mouth any longer about it.

      Good luck with the teaching and thank-you for the dedication to teaching the next generation.

  3. WTH????? NOOO. This is NOT a computer lab, its screw around time. Come on you apple saps, you can’t effectively program or learn the IMPORTANT computer science related subjects on a freaking iPad. It was never designed for that!!!

  4. Wow Dude, maybe we are “doomed as a country”. I had no idea that there would even be a couple of people that could find negative in such a positive story. Me, I encourage you to volunteer in a local school.

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