A child with a laptop in class doing his assignment or taking a test has long since become a familiar sight. However, if you ever care to stop by one of Nebraska district’s public schools you would probably be surprised to see kids using iPads.
The district’s technology director Jeff Droge believes this little innovation will help schools to stay up-to-date and students to become more interested in their studies.
The district’s authorities used a $446,000 grant to buy 185 gadgets for 8th grade students and their teachers. The decision was approved by the school board of the district. Mr. Droge says they are planning on purchasing 450 more devices over 2013-14. Some of this money will be spent on training the teaching staff and students how to use iPads and integrate them into classwork to make it more productive. A few more districts in Nebraska intend to test launching the program which requires using iPads in schools instead of PCs.
While the practice of providing laptops to students has been effectively used in 41 districts all over the U.S. this initiative presents a quite different perspective on the integration of technology into educational process.
However, there are difficulties in the way of schools’ adopting these gadgets nationwide. Firstly, it is the concern about insecurity of operational system powering iPads. Educators worry that it could not be used to take any kind of standardized tests, for the organization that administers such tests uses different technology which cannot be found on iPads.
District officials want to make sure first that iPads are really more cost-effective than laptops despite their shorter exploitability. Another obstacle (although not an insurmountable one) is that in order to use iPads students will require an iTunes account and LPS which is something the district does not feel like forcing them to do.
The opponents of this idea argue that such innovation will make the classroom environment even more disruptive and distracting. Besides, the variety of functions which such gadgets have to offer can divert children’s attention and make the whole point useless. The nature of the whole learning process will be changed. What used to be hard rewarding work will now be seen as a fun pastime, they say.
If such electronic devices are utilized by schools on a regular basis, there definitely has to be some form of supervision and regulation to protect children and make the educational process truly effective.