Archbold school administrators are looking into a plan that would put tablet computers into the hands of every high school student.
Students would have textbooks on the devices, which feature interactive photos, easy-to-access definitions of words, highlighting, and note-taking abilities.
Some teachers are video recording their lessons and lectures. Students who miss a class can go back and view the discussion.
Students can contribute to an Internet-based discussion through the tablets.
“The possibilities are endless,” Tim Meister, Archbold High School principal, told school board members during a presentation on the project at their Monday, Feb. 27 meeting.
School officials would not say what it would cost to go with the program they are calling “One on One iPad.”
However, Brett Gnagey, district technology coordinator, said Apple iPads, the first popular tablet computer, cost about $530 each.
Based on roughly 100 students per class, and four classes, the cost would be $212,000. That figure does not include any additionalcost software or options.
John Downey, board member, asked school administrators to prepare a paper outlining the costs involved, and where in the school budget the money will come from.
Jon Lugbill, board president, said the board may have a work session in March to look over financing the program.
During the presentation, each board member was paired with a student and an iPad, obtained for teachers through Race To The Top grant funds.
Ryan Throne, AHS English teacher, had the students open his class web page, which features a calendar showing daily class assignments.
For literature classes, Throne said he reads and records the books he assigns to the students. He said he finds a lot of students do better listening to audio than reading. It does take a lot of his time, however.
Another teacher said with all of the information on the tablet computer, students have all the tools they need with them all the time.
Plus, if all students have the same device, the socioeconomic playing field is leveled.
She said students today are “digital learners” who, rather than listening to a lecture and taking notes, do better if given a problem, and told to go out and solve it.
Laura Bickel, high school biology teacher, demonstrated the new Ohio biology textbook used on the tablet computer.
Students can use some of the computer features to write and create their own books.
The tablets also teach students good study habits, and improved organization.
Meister said administrators sent teachers who were not technologically-oriented to Defiance High School, where tablet computers are used.
“Each one came back and said, ‘Wow,’” Meister said.
Meister said in the past, if a teacher wanted to use computers as part of the class, the class would have to meet, take a roll call, then walk down to the computer lab and log in.
That could take 10 minutes, taking that much time away from instruction.
Then the district purchased netbook computers to use in the classrooms.
Tablet computers, which the students keep with them, are the next logical step.
Stay Within Budget
David Deskins, district superintendent, said when new schools are built, they come with all the technology in place. Archbold, however, has an old school, so the technology must be carefully updated.
He said there was no way the district could consider such a plan without the permanent improvement fund, which was set up a few years ago.
The One on One iPad program has to stay within the district technology budget, he said.–David Pugh