1:1 iPad Program Possibly Coming Soon to Dos Pueblos

By Holly Bailey

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Courtesy of Apple inc.

Courtesy of Apple inc.

By Holly Bailey | Staff Writer

February 7, 2014

Dos Pueblos High School may soon be expanding its technological resources with plans to participate in the district school board’s 1:1 iPad Program as early as the 2014-15 school year.

The program, which seeks to ensure that every student is equipped with a tablet device in school, has already launched pilots at three Santa Barbara Unified School District elementary schools: Franklin, Adams, and Washington elementary, as well as alternative high schools La Cuesta and Alta Vista.

San Marcos and Dos Pueblos have both shown interest and readiness for launching their own 1:1 Programs, and the high schools are eager to learn from pilot results in order to gauge the program’s success.

Dos Pueblos Principal Shawn Carey has been optimistic about the district and school board’s plan for iPads since the tablet’s inception four years ago.

“We saw it as something that would happen in schools within the immediate future,” Ms. Carey said of the proposal. In fact, a class of AVID students piloted a small-scale 1:1 Program from 2009 to 2012.

dp ipad photoshop

Dos Pueblos is preparing to launch an iPad 1:1 Initiative

Of the current plans to launch a larger scale initiative, Ms. Carey noted, “We’re doing a lot of research and meeting with schools and districts that are rolling 1:1 initiatives out, and we meet regularly to discuss all of that research and all of our planning.”

Over the last two years, teachers have been undergoing optional professional development in regard to using the iPad in instruction. Dos Pueblos would accelerate the training to make it more robust in 2014-15 if the school were to participate in the 1:1 program.

“DP has probably the most ready faculty in terms of the number of teachers who feel comfortable and are prepared to incorporate instructing with the iPad into their teaching practice,” Principal Carey said.

A major concern among parents may be the financial aspect of supplying the tablets.

“The state provided funding specifically designed to support schools and enhance technology as they transition to common core,” Ms. Carey said of the program’s source of funding, referencing the Common Core State Standards. Under these new state standards, technology will play a larger role in education.

Once the program is implemented, the school board envisions three paths to acquire an iPad for student use:

  • The first option for students is simply to bring an iPad they already have from home. The iPad users, however, need to purchase the apps and programs they would use at school.
  • The second option is to check out a school-owned iPad for use during the school year, paid for by district funds, and return it like a textbook in June.
  • The third option is to acquire one through the lease-to-own plan, in which the student purchases the iPad through monthly payments and keeps it after graduation.

With regard to the durability of the iPads, the school-owned property would be bought with an insurance plan.

The philosophy behind the initiative is, “technology as a learning environment,” a phrase the district superintendent Dr. David Cash commonly uses.

“[iPads] are not tools that replace obsolete technology, but do things that transform our learning,” Ms. Carey explains. With this new technology and the plethora of easy-access information it allows for, Ms. Carey and the school board want students to able to engage in qualitatively different, useful, and relevant projects.

DP Theatre Teacher Clark Sayre is enthusiastic about iPads in the classroom.

“I love using the iPads because the actors can get immediate feedback for their performance and make adjustments, and playwrights can share their work instantaneously and receive feedback that will allow them instant rewriting capabilities,” he commented.

Some may be concerned about the relevance of the tablet in certain classes, where it may seem like it has greater use in some subjects more than others. “I feel like some teachers would have to work around their classroom teaching methods that have worked for years in order to try to throw an iPad into the mix,” one DP senior reflected. “I just don’t see it working for every subject.”

Others believe providing iPads for every student is not the best allocation of school funds and student resources.

Introducing iPads for regular classroom use limits the amount of interaction between students and teachers and amongst students, a DP staff member pointed out, arguing that discussions between people are where much of the learning takes place in class. Additionally, the money that will be used to support this endeavor, though dispensed by the state for technology specifically, could be better allocated toward increasing pay for teachers or increasing classroom learning materials for more advanced projects.

Gabriel Elbert, a senior, believes having more textbooks online would be more convenient, judging from his experience utilizing some textbooks uploaded on Dos Pueblos’ EDU 2.0 website. However, he also thinks the school could use less expensive alternatives to iPads for its endeavor. “[the 1:1 program] has potential, but it’s not there yet,” Elbert surmises.

Elsewhere, student Julia Gonzalez expressed her qualms about how, many times, the iPads can be slow and have internet problems that make using them for a class period pointless. She did, however, also commend the greatness of the iPad when it isn’t riddled with connectivity issues. “On the occasion that they work,” the DP student commented, “it’s super useful and opens up a world of possibilities.”

Many Dos Pueblos students are well aware of the campus’ previously unreliable internet wi-fi connectivity, having most likely experienced this dilemma firsthand. In fact, according to Ms. Carey, this was a major reason DP chose not to participate in the 1:1 Program pilot sooner.

The district has worked to vastly improve this problem, however. “We’ve seen dramatic improvements in the reliability of the internet in the last couple months,” Principal Carey commented, “and it shouldn’t be a problem moving forward.”

This is not the first time Dos Pueblos has revamped its technology on campus. DP is wrapping up a three year long process of providing every classroom with a flat screen Apple TV. These devices are iPad compatible, allowing the TV to “mirror” or project, what is displayed on the iPad.

“In this day and age,” said Principal Carey, the 1:1 Program seeks to transform the student learning experience toward “things that are more aligned with what the world of work is demanding and what it takes in 2014 to be a productive citizen.”

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