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Educational iPad apps focus of local conference

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Teachers, librarians and parents from across the state will visit a local high school to learn which computer apps and programs are best to improve students’ math and literacy skills.

Center Grove High School will host the Infinite iPossibilities iPad Conference today with dozens of presentations for 600 people.

The conference is designed to help show, out of thousands of computer apps and programs, which ones are best to help children read better or improve their math skills.

For example, thousands of apps and computer programs are available for early readers, all designed to help children ages 3 to 5 learn how to read by letting them hear words and sentences out loud; but they’re not all good, said Center Grove assistant coordinator for curriculum and special services Marcy Buergler, who will give a presentation on early reader apps. Some early reader apps will spell out each letter of a word, and children do not hear how a word is really spoken in everyday conversations. Or some apps may be spoken by someone with a British accent, which can be difficult for children to understand, she said.

A different presentation will give a brief overview of 60 apps in 60 minutes, allowing attendees to get multiple ideas in one setting. Other presentations taught by educators from across the state will focus on using iPad programs to make learning math more fun or keeping children interested in reading, said Center Grove technology project coordinator Angie Teed, who is coordinating the conference.

The conference is funded by an Indiana Department of Education grant worth about $15,000. The money is used to pay presenters and the travel expenses of the keynote speaker, which this year is Meg Wilson, the 2011 Apple Distinguished Educator, Teed said.

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz will give opening remarks at the conference, according to a news release.

The event is free but limited to 600 people. Teed said the conference filled up in three days this year.

Center Grove does not receive any money, services or equipment from Apple or any other vendors for hosting the conference, Teed said.

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