The Eanes school district has announced plans to issue iPads to each of its students from kindergarten through 12th grade, making it one of the first in the state to take advantage of the changes made by the Texas legislature two years ago.
Prior to an important change in legislation, issuing technology such as iPads or laptops would have been difficult for any school district. Thanks to changes that now allow Texas schools to purchase digital learning materials with textbook money, however, Texas schools can now afford to provide students with advanced technology options. Still, each school is required to purchase its own technology. Therefore, the Eanes school board will be investing $1.2 million of its money to purchase iPad 2s for each of its students.
Despite the hefty price tag, school board President Kal Kallison believes the cost will be worthwhile. Not only will it help students familiarize themselves with technology, but the board believes it will change the educational dynamic of the classroom while also making the classroom more student-driven. To achieve these goals, however, teachers will need to undergo the training necessary to learn how to integrate the new technology into their classrooms.
Students will also undergo training to learn how to use the devices, which are Wi-Fi only. To ensure students are using the iPads appropriately, the Internet connection at the schools will feature filters to block out inappropriate content.
The Eanes school district has been slowly introducing the new technology to its students rather than giving them to all students all at once. The high school students have already received their iPads and the district says the transition has been successful so far. According to Superintendent Nola Welman, the students seem to realize that the iPad is a tool meant to assist with learning, just like a textbook or a pencil. She also noted that the students seem very comfortable with the new technology. Each of the district’s 2,700 students are expected to receive their iPads by the end of April.