MyNotes - Electronic tablets break down educational barriers in R.I. schools | Education | | The Providence Journal

In reading this article, as nice as the iPads are, you can accomplish all the neat stuff being accomplished with $200 netbooks. The excitement comes from using ipads, the latest and greatest  technology. Of course, that's not to say iPads are bad. If one could equip my population with them, and had administrative support, why not? But the fact is, you can get more bang for your buck in tough economic times with inexpensive netbooks that come with keyboards, allow greater flexibility. Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic is the apps that come on the iPad. They represent a lot more value than what we might see on a netbook...right?

Electronic tablets break down educational barriers in R.I. schools | Education | | The Providence Journal
    • Electronic tablets break down educational barriers in R.I. schools 06:58 AM EST on Monday, February 21, 2011 By Linda Borg
      • Step into the Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts in South Providence and this is what you see: seventh graders using iPads to write essays, edit videos, practice their multiplication tables and e-mail their homework to teachers.
        • Because Trinity, a first-year middle school charter, only has 34 students and 6 teachers, it can afford to give an iPad to every student. At $500 from the school's operating budget, the iPad is cheaper than a typical laptop, more portable, and, with its touch screen technology, easy to use.
          • At Trinity, the iPad has nearly eliminated the need for paperback novels. The school buys one book for $6 and downloads 34 copies. And there are many books in the public domain, such as the entire works of William Shakespeare, available free of charge. The potential for cost savings is considerable.
            • Trinity uses the iPad to foster a constant dialogue between students and teachers. A child can submit a homework assignment and get almost instant feedback. An essay can be revised several times with teacher input before it is submitted for a grade. If a student forgets his homework assignment, he can e-mail his teacher from home.
              • Trinity has also created a math portal that allows parents to review their child's homework assignments via the iPad or a personal computer.
                • the use of social networking sites is prohibited. Students may only access the Internet through a specific application that filters out inappropriate material. And the iPad must never be left unattended.
                  • zero problems with broken iPads, zero problems with stolen iPads and zero problems with serious violations. The kids are rising to that level of responsibility. That's what we as a school are about."
                    • 46 percent of public school districts offer distance learning over the Internet or through video conferencing and 53 percent use online curricula.
                      • more than 80 percent of teachers surveyed said they would like to use technology in the classroom, 47 percent said that funding for such technology is inadequate.
                        • In Woonsocket, high school students use videoconferencing to bring authors into the classroom, communicate with other schools, and share data. One day, students piled into the library to watch a surgery performed in real time.
                          • the E-Learning Academy offers 200 electives and 13 advanced-placement courses that students can take on school computers without sitting in class. What began six years ago as a credit-recovery program has since morphed into a virtual high school that enrolls more than 500 students.
                            • In Providence, iPads provide a fresh take on the classic "learning walk." In the past, principals have observed teachers and then scribbled their observations on a long worksheet. The iPad not only makes it much easier to complete the evaluations, it aggregates the data and helps schools identify strengths and weaknesses in each subject.

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