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Sunday, November 4, 2012

iPads in education: Where's the money coming from?

Well in order to use technology in our schools, the money has to be there. Also there has to be an important purpose to it, of course! That's what this article is about!
When San Diego public school officials decided to distribute 26,000 iPads to students this year, they were lucky: They already had a big pile of money.

The city’s voters had approved a $2 billion bond issue in 2008—$500 million of which was designated for a five-year “digital transformation program” designed to update the district’s curriculum. San Diego schools started distributing inexpensive netbooks to students in 2009; the next year Apple unveiled the iPad. And school officials soon changed direction, believing that tablets were a better educational tool.

“We were writing a five-year plan,” says Darryl LaGace, who was the district’s director of instructional technology when the bond passed. He told officials: “I fully expect what we write out in year one won’t look like what we’re doing in year three, four, five.”

The result is that San Diego was financially well-prepared to join the wave of schools around the nation that are placing iPads in the classroom. Districts in Chicago, Texas, and Massachusetts have all earned headlines as they move to iPad-based education.

But that move comes during time of recession-squeezed budgets, and iPads, after all, aren’t eligible for Apple’s educational discount programs. Here’s a report on how some schools are finding funds—and how tablets are making deep inroads in certain districts, and even replacing textbooks.
There is something of Chicago angle too:
Chicago’s efforts to distribute iPads to classrooms came during a dramatic budget battle—as widely reported, the city’s teachers went on strike at the beginning of the school year.

“Through grants, the district has been able to provide about 6000 iPads which are used by about 20,000 students,” says Franklin Shuftan, a spokesman for Chicago public schools. “We estimate that through the use of discretionary funds, individual schools have on their own purchased another approximately 14,000 iPads which are used by approximately 30,000 students.”

It’s unlikely the Chicago district will be able to change approaches anytime soon, Shuftan adds. “The district is facing significant financial challenges and, as a result, we do not plan on any large-scale purchase of iPads this year, but we continue to actively seek additional grant funds to increase the number of iPads available to students.”
Ah that last excerpt has a link with info about iPads in the Chicago Public Schools @ http://ipadsincps.blogspot.com/. Does anyone have any further thoughts about technology in our classrooms?

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