Thursday morning I spoke to Michael Burgess’ class at Lexington High School. The format was much like one of Kelly Payne’s classes — the kids had a prepared list of questions, which is what I like. I hate a set speech, with me droning on and wondering whether anyone is interested. With questions, I at least know I’m addressing something my audience cares about — or something their teacher wants them to care about.
But my speech was definitely not the most interesting thing happening in those students’ school day, because I arrived on the same day as the new iPads.
I had trouble finding a place to park because the visitor spaces, I was told, were taken up by district people who were there for the iPad rollout.
Here’s a release on the Lexington One website about the new devices:
Last year (the 2010–2011 school year), Lexington County School District One successfully executed a personal mobile computing pilot at Gilbert High School as part of our ongoing search for ways to provide students with the tools they need to support their learning and to prepare them for higher education opportunities and careers.
At that time, we explained that we planned to expand the program to our other high schools.
This year (2011–2012), we are expanding personal mobile computing to our other three high schools. All high schools will begin issuing the devices in November.
The district feels strongly that its personal mobile computing initiative is not about the tool used. It is not about an iPad or a tablet. It is about what a personal mobile computing device enables our students to do.
With these devices, students will acquire the digital competence they need for our increasingly electronic- and technology-driven world. They will learn the essential skills they will need as consumers, citizens and workers.
The devices will give students access to the most current information available through the Internet and to the district’s Learning Management System 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the school year.
Students will be able to complete and turn in assignments, homework, projects or research electronically. Interactive applications will allow them to improve their reading fluency, build mathematics skills or create their own study cards.
Unfortunately, as yet, not all textbook publishers provide electronic copies of every textbook, so the district will not be able to eliminate textbooks. Teachers will be able, however, to supplement material found in textbooks with information they create using various multimedia or with information already available.
Lexington One purchased the personal mobile computing devices as part of the voter-approved 2008 Bond Referendum. That bond referendum included $15 million to expand and upgrade existing technology at all schools.
Read our Personal Mobile Computing Guide for high school students.
I should mention that the students were all politely attentive to my talk. I don’t think I could have been, with a new iPad in front of me…