'Some kids make paper airplanes. At least iPads are quieter and you're not throwing them around!' - 13 year old student from Lincoln Middle School

Ipads in the classroom - are they a learning tool or a distraction? 

CBC kicks off a new series called Classroom Confidential with a reality check on iPads in schools. It's an inside look at how the learning tools in schools are changing.

iPads are relatively new in the classroom and there is a worry that they will be more of a distraction than an aid. In order to do a reality check on iPads in schools, CBC's Margaux Watt visited Lincoln Middle School in Winnipeg.

She reports that in Winnipeg, 3,200 students in the St. James School Division were given iPad minis last fall. One such example is teacher Brynae Toth's Language Arts Class at Lincoln Middle School.

iPads in Schools

Student with teacher Brynae Toth at Lincoln Middle School in Winnipeg using iPad as a learning tool. (Margaux Watt/CBC)

Toth believes that iPads are making her classroom more interactive. She says using them reflects how we operate these days as a society. But she admits it can be challenging.

"I think it's a change for teachers because you have to give up a little bit of that structure that I think traditionally we are more used to," she explained. "....where everyone's doing the same thing at the same time."

When it's time to focus on the teacher, Toth gets her kids to turn their iPads over, screen down. She says the kids are also learning about the distraction factor with these devices....like when it's appropriate to be on their device. Even the students agree that the social etiquette of technology can be tricky.

"Some kids don't have that self control....and it can get distracting for other kids that are around them. And when a notification pops up for me I get excited and wonder what it's about," admitted 13 year old Amanda. "Even if we had paper and pen in front of us I'd still start drawing on my paper," chimed in friend Carly. "Some kids make paper airplanes. At least iPads are quieter and you're not throwing them around!"

To help you decide if iPads are making your kids smarter tune in to Information Radio on Monday March 10, between 6 and 9 a.m..