by Bethaney Wallace

Remember back in elementary school when it was time for math and you sat around doing the work by hand? An eraser, a number 2 pencil, and lined notebook paper was advanced as it got. Calculators may have been found on those bulky wristwatches, but after the age of 8 our fingers outgrew the tiny buttons that controlled them. Other subjects fared the same: anything battery operated was on a strict checkout basis. And the one piece of technology that stayed constant – the roll-out projector – was a constant source of loud humming, burned out light bulbs, and burned fingers.

Now days though, the game has changed. (The “game” being school.) In fact, two whole years ago, 97 percent of schools in the U.S. had Internet access, according to the Federal Communications Commission. In 2010, a lower percentage had high-speed access. But since the enactment of the National Broadband Plan, more schools have both gained online access and speed.

Another trend catching speed is the use of individual iPads. Through the help of Apple’s learning labs program. Offering different programs, schools can purchase (at a discount), an iPod, iPad, or MacBook learning lab, which comes with a charging cart and portable airport. According to Apple, more than 1.5 million iPads are being used for schools across the country. And with more than 20,000 learning apps to choose from, these devices won’t go to waste. Schools are also on the fast track to purchase more electronic devices for their students. One county in Texas, McAllen Independent, plans to provide each of its 25,000 K-12 students with an Apple device by the end of the year. And that’s only one county in one state; hundreds of other districts are doing the same.

From smashing erasers and getting blinded by the overhead projectors, students everywhere – as young as preschoolers – are now learning through electronics. Education has already grown tremendously and will continue to do so as the technology advances.

Screen shot of iPod station taken from Apple 5-7-12.