I’ll be very interested to see how this goes.
A Texas school district is trying to close its digital divide by distributing thousands of Apple tablet computers in a move that could make it the largest iPads program for students in the nation.
McAllen Independent School District in the southern part of the state began distributing 6,800 devices this week — mostly the iPad tablet computers, but also hundreds of iPod Touch devices for its youngest students.
By this time next year, the district says every one of its more than 25,000 students in grades K-12 will receive an iPad or iPod Touch. The district believes it’s the largest to try for complete coverage and while Apple would not confirm that, other districts the company noted as having made large investments have not made ones as big as McAllen’s.
Educational use of the tablet computers is so new that there’s little evidence available on their impact. Superintendent James Ponce said the district wanted to change the classroom culture, making it more interactive and creative and decided Apple’s devices — even at $500 retail for an iPad2 — were the best investment.
“We’re just choosing to invest differently going forward,” Ponce said.
Like I said, I can’t wait to see how this turns out. I hope they keep good data. You would think this would help, but you never know. I suppose it’s possible it could help, but the improvement isn’t enough to justify the unit cost. Or maybe it’ll be a game-changer, and the Lege will be under pressure to figure out how to pay for these things statewide. Which would be fine by me. But we won’t know that for a couple of years at least. Let’s see how it goes.