iPad Initiative in Corvallis Schools

CORVALLIS, Ore. — It is a big year for three schools in the Corvallis School District, where every single student will have access to his or her own iPad.

It’s out with the old technology, and in with the new as the Corvallis School District makes plans to move forward with technology. Linus Pauling Middle School, Cheldelin Middle, and Mountain View Elementary are all going 1:1 this year. One-to-one, meaning one Apple iPad for every student.

“We’re really excited,” said Superintendent Erin Prince. “We have a new initiative called One to World.”

One to World: connecting every child, every day, to the future.

Dr. Erin Prince says it’s about opening the classroom doors to the world through the Internet and the immediate resources that iPads provide.

“This is not about the gadget,” Prince said. “It’s about changing the teaching and learning for our teachers and students. And about closing the opportunity gap.”

Prince says 275 kids in the district are homeless and do not have the same access to technology as other students.

“The iPads create an opportunity to close the gap between the haves and the have-nots,” Prince said.

The district says the benefits of the iPads outweigh the cost – a sum of $1 million per year to maintain. But Prince says the district has been able to shift funds in order to purchase the tablets.

“The funds are not coming away from the teachers, but they’re funds we would normally use for other materials,” Prince said.

She says with iPads, the district will save a huge sum on items such as computers, laptops, textbooks, and paper materials.

So why iPads? Why not a different type of tablet?

“We like the iPads because of the immediate connectivity,” Prince said. “But there’s the ability with iTunes University and iBooks to create curriculum. We’ll have access to free resources that have been built by professors across the country, teachers, and students.”

The district says it spent a great deal of time looking at different tablets and laptops, but decided the iPad was the best route. Prince says the district has set up a management system on the devices, so teachers can lock students into a particular app during class. The district is also able to block students from downloading particular apps on their iPads.

Administrators say despite the new wave of technology, the school libraries aren’t going anywhere. Some textbooks might disappear in order for teachers to use more current tools online, but novels and other book resources will still be available in the schools.

“I know there might be some fear that kids sitting under a tree reading a book – that those days are over,” said Assistant Superintendent Kevin Bogatin. “I don’t think those days are over, but I think maybe the days of the huge psychology textbook that you might lug around – those might be over.”

Prince says the middle schoolers will be able to take their iPads home with them to use after school. Though only three schools have full implementation of iPads, she says there are other departments within the district that have the tablets already. She says this is just the first phase of the iPad rollout, and students at all other schools can expect to see the tablets soon.

“We hope to scale this project to include the whole district by next year,” Prince said.

Because this is the first huge iPad distribution within the district, Prince says there will be challenges. Not all teachers know how to use the iPads yet, but the district is hosting workshops next week to get everyone on board.

“If we wait for the adults to be ready with our technology, it will never happen. And we don’t have time to wait.”

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