Students at Edgewood Junior High and Edgewood High School will carry less weight in their backpacks next year as they trade in their text books for iPads. The Richland Bean Blossom School Board voted unanimously to lease more than 1,000 of the devices over a three year period.
Depending on grade level, the cost of the iPads will increase by around four to ten dollars compared with the price textbook rentals. Edgewood Jr. High School Principal Melissa Pogue says the decision to integrate iPads into the schools comes after a pilot program used with 8th graders.
“The teachers are definitely not the person who knows everything, and they need to make sure that they realize that sometimes kids know more than they do, especially when it comes to technology.” Pogue says. “So it has definitely made it more collaborative between the teachers and the students.”
Out of the 300 iPads issued to students last year, 36 were damaged–around 12 percent. Director of Information Technologies Tamra Ranard says the school will be ordering new rubber cases that will help to better protect the $299 devices.
Ranard says next year teachers will create an online virtual classroom. Students will be able to do homework, classroom activities, and even e-mail the teacher questions at home or chat with other kids as they use the new technology.
“I’m not limited by where I am, I can always be learning,” Ranard says. “If I look up in the sky and see a star I can find out what that star is right then. It may not even be part of my homework, but that’s okay because we want kids to learn to learn all the time.”
The School Board will pay roughly $500,000 for the devices. Parents can expect to pay $95 in lieu of textbooks and insurance is included in the price. If an iPad is lost or damaged parents will have to pay a $40 deductable.
Some textbooks will still be used and students who already own iPads will be allowed to use them in place of rentals.