With a vote of five to two the Lincoln County School District No. 2 Board of Trustees approved iPads for high school students in the district. The action took place on Thursday, April 10 during the regular meeting of the school board.
Wade Hirschi and Tyler Brog opposed the measure. Karen Tallerico, Lane Allred, Stewart Petersen, Alan Linford and Eileen Merritt voted in favor.
Hirschi expressed concern with the costs associated with purchasing iPads for the students. He also spoke about the benefits of students “unplugging” from the constant stream of electronic information that is available.
The rapid implementation of an electronic curriculum at the high school level in the district was a primary concern for Brog. Getting the necessary things in place to have the iPads up and running in time for the next school year seemed to present a difficult challenge, he said.
“I would rather see us move forward with implementation a bit more slowly,” Brog said.
Educating students in a way that allows them to be successful and competitive at the college level and in the job market were reasons given for supporting the measure.
The rapid rate at which information changes and the difficulty in keeping up with those changes using traditional text books was also given as reason for making the change.
“This is something that is more relevant to the world we live in today,” said Superintendent Jon Abrams. “It is more interactive learning for the students and provides them with the skills necessary to be successful in the 21st Century.”
According to Abrams, the one to one iPad student initiative will be a process.
“It is starting this next school year but we are not going to be going from using text books this year to no text books next year,” he said. “It is going to be a process.”
The school district has budgeted $750,000 over the next three years to implement the one to one iPad initiative for high school students.
Abrams credited Director of Instruction Shannon Harris for her research and hard work in putting the one to one student iPad initiative forward in the district.
According to Harris, the district will purchase an iPad and case for every high school student and make available as much digital curriculum in the classroom as possible.
“Right now we have social studies and will have math. We are looking at digital textbooks in science and language arts,” she said. “Our committee is looking at educational apps and what is available. It’s an ever changing field.”
Students will keep their iPads for the four years of their high school experience in Lincoln County School District No. 2, Harris said.
According to Harris, digital learning allows for “more collaboration and interactive learning practices” for students.
The format also allows for more effective classroom time, she said.
“For example, a student can be given a video to watch on photosynthesis as part of their homework assignment,” she said. “Then when they come to school the next day they already have a foundation of what photosynthesis is and can then participate in a lab in the classroom or discuss things they did not understand and get the help that they need to move forward.”
“Teachers are the ones who are going to lead out with this initiative,” she said. “This is not district driven. It is something that came from our classroom teachers, parents and students.”
According to Harris, digital learning allows each student an individual educational process that meets their specific educational needs.