For the past several years, the Citrus County School District has been working to make more schools tech-savvy. Both students and teachers say it’s made a big difference.

  • Program at Lecanto High School started at middle school level
  • iPads used for schoolwork, digital hall pass system
  • Plan for all Lecanto High students to have iPad access next year

Currently, all freshmen, sophomores, and juniors at Lecanto High School are able to use their own iPad throughout the school year. They check the device out at the beginning of the year and can use it in class and at home, but do have to return it when the year is over.

This push for increased use of technology in the classroom started a few years ago on the middle school level, and has spread to the high school level.

"It's been I think in some people's eyes drastic, but in my eyes it's been a good progression," Robert Thompson, Dean of Students, explained. "That the kids kind of come through our school system in our district, they have the appropriate technological skills when they arrive here."

The iPads aren't just used for school work. There is even a digital hall pass system students can use when they need to leave the classroom.

English teacher Mary Leonard said she's noticed an increase in her students productivity and attentiveness since she started using iPads in her classroom.

"It makes it more relevant to them," Leonard explained. "We live in a technological world and that's part of their everyday life, we, they come into class with cell phones, and it's just a part of who they are, so when we have that available in the classroom I think right away it's engaging."

And it's not just the students who are benefiting from all this technology -- the teachers say it's made their job easier. With the students being able to take the iPads home, they're able to send instructional videos for the students to reference or even quickly answer questions after school hours.

"Some programs will differentiate to meet all student's needs, so we can see who is progressing quickly and who might need a little bit more assistance," Leonard said.

Students say the variety of learning options available with technology has helped them in their studies.

"It's helped a lot, because I have more things to look at," Freshman Yan Colon said.

The district said next year they plan for all students at Lecanto High to have their own iPad.

Elementary school students in the county also get to use iPads throughout the day, but unlike the middle and high school students they aren’t able to take them home.