The headline on Fox 25 states Burlington schools trade in books for iPads: and the topic is actually the topic of conversation for this morning's "Let it Rip" segment on the Fox Morning Show which you can watch here. You can also see the interview that Dr. Conti and I did for last night's Fox News above.
I would like to respond to a few of the points that the Fox reporters made this morning:
Kind of a pricy thing to put in the hands of kids?
We have been putting textbooks in the hands of kids for quite some time and these are quite pricy as the report from Fox News in Georgia mentioned yesterday where the state spends over 40 million dollars annually on textbooks. I know that we spend in excess of $100,000 dollars in Burlington in most years on textbooks. So it would seem that we are putting pricy things in the hands of our students.What is the cost to the school system?
I will get to the concrete number, but seriously what is the cost of not doing this? Look at what is happening outside of our schools. Our students need to be ready to enter a world outside of our schools where people are connected through technological tools. If they do not learn how to use these tools responsibly in our schools then where will they learn them?
Most school mission statements state the need to develop competent citizens and we simply are not fulfilling this if we are not teaching our students to be competent in the area of digital citizenship. Tony Wagner cites in his book the Global Achievement Gap. It is quite clear that integrating technological tools into our classrooms will benefit in each of these areas.
Finally, in regards to cost, the iPad goes for $499 and if we dump out a typical students backpack we will get to this amount very quickly. Add in the conversation about the amount we are spending on copying and the amount climbs even higher.What kind of access will they (students) have? Will we be blocking inappropriate content?
We have federal and local guidelines that state our obligation to filter inappropriate material. Many students are online during the school day here at BHS now in our various computer labs and our library/media center. We will meet the same guidelines when each student has a device to access our wireless network.Apple's plan to take over the world
I know that this comment was made tongue-in-cheek and I want to be clear that are longterm plans are to be a Bring Your Own Device School (BYOD) school. We love the idea of students having choices and managing their own devices and we plan to be there within a short time (3-4 years tops). The whole 1:1 move is not about one specific device or application. However, to make things more manageable in classrooms, we decided that all students having the same device would be helpful in as we start out.Updating textbooks
I think we have to be very careful in this areas that we do not just transition from traditional textbooks to the digital textbooks. We need to start creating our own textbooks as Joyce Valenza pointed out this week in her great post How To Grow A Textbook. In addition, Scott McLeod has also pushed educators on this idea with his Textbook Challenge based on his statement that "."
It is quite clear that if we give our teachers time, they will create resources for their students that are much more meaningful. In high schools we should also have students helping to create these resources for their classes.
In fact, this is already happening in some schools:
Don't we want these opportunities for all of our students?50-Percent Will Be Broken Within A Month
I am so disappointed at the lack of faith that so many have in our students. We have had a number of iPads in our district utilizing iPads this year with none of these issues. In addition, I am confident that the fact that Apple has sold over 7 million iPads is indicative that fragility is not a major concern.