iPads enter school in experimental phase

Teachers Receiving
Experimental iPads

Debbie Smith
Tony Rainsberger
Mark Brooks-Hedstrom
Jay Lane
Fred Schmitz
Kelly Colson
Heidi Steinbrink
Crystal Melcore
Paul Waller     

Following a technology grant provided by the Oakwood Education Foundation, ten teachers received iPads this fall in an experiment to determine their long-term place in the classroom setting. While the school district did not fund the purchase of the devices, they are funding any additional needs, such as educational apps and maitenance.

“There are teachers in Smith, Harman, the Junior High, and the High School who are looking for ways that the iPad could enhance instruction,” Principal Paul Waller said.

Mark Brooks-Hedstrom, one such teacher to receive an iPad, has been “exploring different possible apps that [he] might use in the classroom.” Opening the case he displays a bevy of possible uses for the device in a school environment, eyes shimmering in a sort of childlike fascination.

But in the end, the magic loses its place to reality. “While it’s a great toy, I’m not sure what new options it gives me,” Brooks-Hedstrom said. “It’s fun for showing off, but it’s not totally practical yet.”

Teacher opinions like these are what will ultimately guide the future of the entire technology department at Oakwood.

“The other piece of the plan is to see if the iPads could eventually replace the desktops as a less expensive alternative,” Waller said.

However, if teacher feedback follows patterns of those who have voiced their opinions thus far, this plan of attack seems unlikely. Students, too, have expressed similar reactions.

“While I certainly see the budgetary advantages of this decision, I can’t see how they could become the primary platform of technology in the school,” Herbert Sizek (11) said. “The negatives outweigh the positives.”

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