News (Stay Informed)

More Schools Embracing iPad as Learning Tool.

Max Mashal, a sixth grader, uses his iPad at Pinnacle Peak Elementary School in Scottsdale, Ariz.

by New York Times:

A growing number of schools across the nation are embracing the iPad as the latest tool to teach Kafka in multimedia, history through “Jeopardy”-like games and math with step-by-step animation of complex problems.

The iPads cost $750 apiece, and they are to be used in class and at home during the school year to replace textbooks; allow students to correspond with teachers, file papers and homework assignments; and preserve a record of student work in digital portfolios. More practically, he said, it also takes away students’ excuses for not doing their work.

And some parents and scholars have raised concerns that schools are rushing to invest in them before their educational value has been proved by research. But school leaders say the iPad is not just a cool new toy but rather a powerful and versatile tool with a multitude of applications, including thousands with educational uses.

Roslyn administrators also said their adoption of the iPad, for which the district paid $56,250 for the initial 75 (32-gigabyte, with case and stylus), is advancing its effort to go paperless and cut spending. Some of the tablets are being used for special education students.

More than 200 Chicago public schools applied for 23 district-financed iPad grants totaling $450,000; the winners each received 32 iPads, on average — for a total of 745 — as well as iTunes credit to purchase applications. The district is now applying for a $3 million state grant to provide iPads to low-performing schools next year.

Indeed, many of the districts are paying for their iPads through federal and other grants, including money from the federal Race to the Top competitive grant program, which Durham, N.C., administrators are using to provide an iPad to every teacher and student at two low-performing schools.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which developed the iPad algebra program in California, said it planned to compare the test scores of students using a textbook in digital and traditional book formats. The iPad version offers video of the author solving equations, and individualized assessments and practice problems.

Many school officials say they have been waiting for a technology like the iPad. Daniel Brenner, the Roslyn superintendent, said the iPads would also save money in the long run by reducing printing and textbook costs; the estimated savings in the two iPad classes alone are $7,200 a year.

The district has begun replacing math textbooks with digital versions and expects to be able to download about 60 percent of the high school’s literature reading list from iBooks free.

New York Times

This is great news for education. Carnengie Mellon’s research proved that online learning works for higher education. Inside HigherEd wrote an article on CM’s research and their link to the federal government.


But what the Carnegie Mellon researchers are selling — and what the U.S. government might be looking to buy — is greater efficiency, which is the promise of the hybrid version. By combining the open-learning software with two weekly 50-minute class sessions in an intro-level statistics course, they found that they could get students to learn the same amount of material in half the time.The university last week announced it has received $4 million from the Hewlett, Gates, and Lumina foundations to help build a version of the Open Learning Initiative specifically for community colleges, citing the White House’s proposed “American Graduation Initiative,” an effort currently under review in Congress that would invest up to $500 million in online learning projects, possibly based on the Carnegie Mellon model.

Hence why the administration is funding technology combine traditional classroom with interactive online learning in elementary and secondary classrooms. Yes, there is going to be a decrease demand for teachers since iPads are relatively inexpensive compared to a teacher’s salary of $30K-45K a year.  But the teachers who will be in the classrooms will be the great ones.