MARYVILLE - With little sneakers and art projects, the hallways of John Sevier Elementary look like any other school. A look inside a classroom shows something much different - students as young as four years old using iPads.
“We teach the fundamentals of how to use it like the home button, what is a home button, how to take care of an iPad, how to hold it,” said pre-K teacher Chastity O'Quinn.
She says the learning curve for her young students does not exist when it comes to the iPads.
“It’s like they pick it up and they automatically know how to use it and that’s kind of scary," she said.
Maryville City Schools brought in 1,500 iPads for its 5,000 students. Pre-K student Sarah Cate says she and her classmates prefer using the iPads to writing.
"We use it every day," she said. "...it's so easy."
By the time students reach third grade, they are using the iPads to write essays. The program known as iReach takes up 3% of Maryville City Schools' annual budget, according to district official Sharon Anglim.
The program was modeled after a school in North Carolina. Now, leaders say other schools are modeling their programs around John Sevier.
O'Quinn keeps a balance between the new and old in her classroom, but her students think the choice is easy.
“If you open up the composition book, there’s not one thing inside them. Nothing at all,” she said. “If they love the iPads, I have to teach to what they want to learn about.”
(© 2016 WBIR)