Starting in 2010 the school dedicated significant time and resources to studying solutions that would place robust, versatile computing devices in the hands of every student, empowering them to learn anywhere, anytime, in any subject. This study included classroom pilot projects in 2010-2011 and one-to-one trials with student and teacher groups in 2011-2012. During this time, faculty participated in several professional development training sessions focused on integrating new Internet resources and technology tools in the classroom.
To ensure that the research was as thorough as possible, the school conducted head-to-head reviews of nearly a dozen devices including laptops, netbooks, e-readers and other tablet devices. The results of these trials distinguished the Apple iPad as the most promising device on the market today for following reasons:
- Dedicated Education Division - Apple Inc. has a history of working with schools to develop successful programs and has a well-defined strategy for providing assistance in building the program.
- Established, large user base - With 100s of 1000s of devices deployed in schools across the country, there is a large community of similar schools that use iPads with which we may collaborate.
- Multifunctional Device - The iPad will consolidate many functions for students: textbooks, notebooks, binders, lab books, calculators, communication tool, calendars, cameras, video recorders, world atlases, periodic tables, dictionaries, encyclopedias, Shakespeare anthologies, lab computers, etc.
- Form and function - The iPad is lightweight and the batteries last an entire day. It will add minimal weight to a student’s backpack.
- E-Reader/Textbooks - The iPad design has a distinct advantage as an e-reader. We are working with Apple, textbook publishers and other e-textbook providers to migrate as many texts as possible to electronic versions.
- Innovative Apps - The iPads offers the most extensive library of educational apps and support for multiple languages.
- Touchscreen/Accessories - The iPad’s touchscreen is a unique advantage that encourages interactivity and engages students. Students can show their work and “write” on the device with a stylus. Keyboards are available for long format writing assignments.
- Offline Access - The iPad uniquely allows for off-line usage so that it will remain useful as e-book reader or writing device when there is no Internet connection.
- Environmentally Conscious - Over time, we will use less paper operating more efficiently and sustainably.