Students with disabilities learning more with iPads

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DECATUR -- Kids in Decatur's Life Skills classes are using iPads, and easier ways of learning are now literally at their fingertips.

At Parsons Elementary School, kids in the Life Skills class are using iPads every day.

Teacher Melanie Ryder told WAND that it's interaction that is changing the way students learn. Ryder's students have different cognitive disabilities, and their learning levels range from preschool to first grade.

Before the iPads Ryder said the kids did typical work on worksheets. But sometimes students had trouble learning that way, she said.

Now they have apps for that. Students are learning letters, shapes, words and other lessons on a touchscreen. They can use different apps at different levels -- all at the same time.

Ryder said the kids are learning much easier, and in ways they understand. But she said it's also changing the classroom atmosphere for the better.

"It takes away the behavior [issue] completely," Ryder said. "Some of our [kids] that can have behavior problems... they're so tapped into that app and so engaged by it that they sit quietly."

Teachers also have direct access to data allowing them to see kids' strengths and weaknesses on the programs.

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