By Anne Collier
Greater student engagement and higher test scores are the results teachers are reporting, since hundreds of California middle school students started using school-issued iPads, eSchool News reports. In the four-district pilot, the students are “using curriculum apps for their classwork and homework” in a variety subjects, including language arts and math. One district told eSchool News that “90.5% of students using iPads are testing as proficient or above on benchmark tests, compared with 60% in other classes.” One of the side benefits for students, apparently, is having all their schoolwork in one “place” wherever they are – not scattered between home, school locker, and backpack (sounds like the reason why laptops we all could get used to). A somewhat surprising side benefit for schools: “Discipline issues have almost disappeared since iPads were introduced to students, who risk losing theirs if they misbehave,” one school reported. “More districts across California and elsewhere are putting in orders for iPads,” the article adds.
In Illinois, the iPad experiment involves preschoolers and kindergarteners, as dozens of their teachers are “adding iPads to their classroom stocks of pencils and paints in an effort to hook young learners with the newest technology craze at the same time – or even before – their parents adopt it,” the Chicago Tribune reports (via Edweek.org). The Trib quotes one school superintendent as saying that teaching with these tools is “teaching to their world.” Absolutely, and this really illustrates why it’s so important to model and teach good citizenship – respect for each person’s perspective, property, and powers (including technological) both online and offline, at home and at school – from the first day a connected device goes into children’s powerful little hands, no? [See also “iPads to be required in Tenn. School” – the signs are multiplying that this may be a better way to go than 1 laptop per student.]