Did the Sweetwater High School District Board of Trustees jump the gun by approving the purchase of iPads at a cost of $4.3 Million? In theory, it sounds like a great idea, but many questions come to mind. The most important question: will this purchase be part of a larger program to integrate technology into the classroom? In other words, will the district help teachers in creating lesson plans that include iPads? Will schools begin offering classes such as “How to Create an App,” or “Using Pages / Photoshop / GarageBand”? Also, does the District have an IT department that can give students and teachers technical help when they have a problem? Or, will the districts just issue these electronic gadgets and let the teachers and students fend for themselves?
Is it safe to assume that this huge purchase was preceded by a pilot program on a much smaller scale to figure out how to handle issues such as: How will the teachers / students need support? What happens when the iPad breaks / is lost? Will the student be on the hook for the replacement cost ($500)? Was this idea vetted by teachers? Are any of the textbooks already available on iBooks? Should we expect a jump in grades? Will the iPads come with a case or will the student have to buy that themselves?
Perhaps the District had answers to these questions before they approved such a large expenditure. But, as you can see, there are many outstanding questions (if you know the answers to these questions, please post a comment).
iPads will some day be part of all curriculum. After all, computer tablets are the future; it’s just premature to think that that future t is already here.
UPDATE: One question was answered at the May 7th SUHSD Board meeting. The initial budget did not include covers so an additional $29,000 was added to buy iPad covers.