Last year, iPads in education took the world by storm, finding their ways into initiatives at both the K-12 and university levels. Here at Education Dive, we talked to some of the people responsible for those rollouts and watched as schools decided how to use tablets, whether they were Apple's or not.
In 2013, iPads are still going strong. New pilot programs are winning over former doubters—and in some cases existing programs are expanding.
So how will iPads be used as their classroom roles evolve in 2013? Education Dive found these examples:
1. PUTTING STUDENTS IN CHARGE OF THE LEARNING EXPERIENCE
In Arab, Ala., the board of education approved the purchase of 120 iPads, putting one in the hand of every teacher in the district. Teachers are hopeful that having access to the technology will help them give students more control in the classroom, and Superintendent John Mullins feels that experience with new technologies will be vital to the students’ futures. A proposal currently on the table would give every student from grades six through 12 access to an iPad. Additionally, six iPads will go to every K-3 classroom and every fourth and fifth grade class will have a dozen.
2. REPLACING TEXTBOOKS AND TRANSCRIBING LECTURES
This fall, every student at Justin-Siena High School in California will receive an iPad with a charger, earbuds, manual and cover. Though students will be responsible for purchasing apps, some required for specific courses will come with a discount. A long-term goal for the program is to do away with paper textbooks, which is sure to relieve students carrying heavy backpacks. The students, however, say they are most excited about the “Notability” app, which is capable of recording a lecture and transcribing it into text.
3. FILLING TEACHER SHORTAGES IN RURAL COMMUNITIES
Administrators in Sweden’s Vindeln municipality are considering adopting iPads as a way to ensure children in several small, rural communities with teacher shortages have quality teachers. The smallest school in the area has only seven students, and, if put into practice, the idea could become a model for other rural communities.
4. PROVIDING HOME INTERNET ACCESS
At Taylor Elementary School in Tennessee, fourth- and fifth-grade students will have the opportunity to take school-issued iPads home on nights and weekends. Participation in the “iPad on the Go” program is optional, though, as parents must assume the cost of replacing broken or lost devices.
5. IMPROVING MATH SKILLS
All 900 students at Charlotte High School received iPads five months ago, and teachers like Ryan Sisco say their improvement is already evident. According to Sisco, who teaches “Math Foundations,” the technology has greatly improved the basic math skills some students were struggling with and need for courses like Algebra I.
6. ESTABLISHING MODELS FOR LARGE iPAD DEPLOYMENTS
A $4.5 billion Turkish initiative to put 15 million tablets into the hands of the country’s schoolchildren—about one tablet for every student—could potentially become a model for massive iPad deployments in both education and business if Apple is selected.
7. IMMERSING CHILDREN IN BETTER TECHNOLOGY
Howard Junior School in the United Kingdom purchased 30 iPad minis, with another 18 on the way, in the interest of giving children the latest technology. The school’s library also has full-sized iPads and 40 Nintendo DS machines, which students can borrow and use with educational software. Headteacher Gregory Hill credits the school’s embrace of technology with improvements in its SATS results.
8. ATTRACTING GRANT MONEY
The Washington Parish School Board gave teachers an opportunity to apply for iPad integration mini-grants, which were presented to six recipients at a meeting Thursday night. With the push for improved results nationwide, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see more districts implementing similar grants in the coming year.
9. EXPANDING ON EXISTING PILOT PROGRAMS
New Jersey’s Ramsey School District is continuing the iPad pilot program it launched with Smith Middle School’s Class of 2013 by expanding the initiative to follow fall’s incoming freshmen to Ramsey High School. Between now and then, ninth-grade teachers will be trained on the iPads—which cost the district $53,000, plus insurance coverage—and a long-term integration plan at all grade levels is also in the works.
10. HELPING STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
Along with grants, there are likely to be more iPad programs funded by donations. A recent $7,580 donation to Council Rock High School South in Pennsylvania will be used to purchase 20 iPads for students with disabilities, and is the second donation the district has received this year for the purchase of iPads. The first, in January, was an anonymous donation of $5,038 to purchase iPads for Autistic Support Classes.
11. BY STUDENTS WHO BRING THEIR OWN iPADS TO CLASS
Gonzaga Prep, a private Jesuit high school in Spokane, Wash., announced Thursday that the school’s 870 students would be using an iPad in place of books. Unlike many programs, each student/family will have to purchase their own iPad—specifically, a 16 GB iPad 2. Could this sort of iPad program catch on at more private schools, if not public ones?
12. IMPROVING STUDENT ENGAGEMENT RESULTS
When schools in Clark County, Ky., received $22,000 awards to use as they saw fit, Winchester’s Central Elementary used the funds to purchase 32 iPad minis. Teachers at the school report increased engagement among students, who use Edmodo to collaborate on math problems with older students in Conkwright Middle School’s Student Leadership Technology Program.
13. CLOSING THE DIGITAL ACHIEVEMENT GAP
An iPad pilot program including three schools in Colorado’s Boulder Valley district is expanding this year from 400 students and 28 teachers to 1,000 students and 38 teachers, and will further expand to a fourth school in the next school year. Along with increasing achievement in science, reading and writing, as well as collaboration skills and engagement, fourth-grade teacher Molly Hayes says the program reduces the digital achievement gap between students who already have tablet access and those who do not.
14. GAINING THE TRUST OF ADMINISTRATORS
Directors of Minnesota’s Hibbing School Board are eager to integrate iPads into classrooms. For Superintendent Robert Belluzzo says that wasn’t the case two years ago, but seeing how the iPad has enhanced education in classrooms nationwide made believers out of him and other board members. Now, Hibbing administrators are formulating a technology plan and eyeing Lincoln Elementary School and Hibbing High School for a potential one-to-one initiative.
15. EXAPNDING THEIR HIGHER ED PRESENCE
Don’t think K-12 is having all of the fun. Through technology grants, many higher education institutions, like Yale, are integrating iPads into the classroom experience through various programs, and in subjects ranging from food writing to biology.
16. MAKING OLD SCHOOL SUPPLIES OBSOLETE
At Garces Memorial High School in Bakersfield, Calif., iPads aren’t just expected to replace textbooks by next year, but pens and paper, as well. Students will even submit homework and assignments through the school’s wireless connection. A technology fee will be implemented to cover the costs of the tablets.
17. RE-IMAGINING HOW NEWSPAPERS ARE USED IN CLASS
The longstanding Newspapers In Education program was designed to hook young readers on the habit of reading newspapers by dropping them off for free at schools and incorporating the content into lesson plans. In keeping with the times, The Boston Globe is providing iPads, projectors and free digital subscriptions to local public school classrooms as a 21st Century take on the program.
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