Archive for Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Baldwin HIgh School students could soon trade textbooks for iPads

Baldwin USD 348 Board of Education

Baldwin USD 348 Board of Education

May 29, 2012

In a nod to the changing world of information access, USD 348 is looking to replace textbooks at Baldwin High School with iPads starting with the 2013-2014 school year.

Superintendent Paul Dorathy said in addition to providing students with up-to-date learning tools, the move would save the district from routinely replacing textbooks, which can cost from $70 to $80 each. Textbooks become out of date when their publishers print new editions, making those currently used worthless, he said.

E-textbooks, which cost about $15 each, would be accessed from the iPads and could be updated much cheaper because there would not be any printing cost involved, Dorathy said.

“It could save us quite a bit of money, while helping the kids learn to organize all their work and schedules and access information through the Internet,” he said. “I think a lot could be done if we could get these in students’ hands.”

The USD 348 Board of Education has yet to approve the change, but board members were supportive when presented May 21 with the plan as part of its consideration of short- and long-term capital outlay proposals.

At the cost of about $500 per unit, the price tag of providing the about 450 students enrolled at Baldwin High School with iPads would be about $225,000, Dorathy said.

The superintendent anticipated the district would enter into a three-year lease-purchase agreement with Apple, which would provide iPads upfront to all BHS students. Apple usually provides those loans interest free, he said.

The district spends about $100,000 annually for K-through 12th grade textbooks, Dorathy said. He estimated about a third of that was for high school textbooks.

The iPad program would start with their introduction to the school’s faculty for the 2012-2013 school year, Dorathy said. That would cost about $20,000, he said.

“They would go into the hands of staff for training this next year, and then be ready to go for students in the 2013-2014 school year,” he said.

Dorathy said his guess was the iPad would remain the district’s best option but it would explore products such as Kindle and others introduced in the next year.

“Over this next year, we’ll do some evaluation to make sure the iPad is the best move for the district because there are other options out there,” he said. “That won’t stop our staff from learning to use the iPads. If they can use the iPad, they can certainly use any other thing that is on the market.”

The district has used iPads in its high school 21st Century Literacy Program for the past two years, Dorathy said. That has allowed it to develop and test insurance and replacement policies in the event of damage or theft, he said.

“There’s really been no problems with that,” he said. “Now, there could be more with a larger scale, but iPads come with tracking devices so we can trace them.”

The district also has in place filters that prevent students from accessing inappropriate Internet sites via the district’s Internet, Dorathy said. Students could visit inappropriate sites while at home, just as they could with a home computer if unmonitored, he said.

Dorathy acknowledged the iPads would be dated and well used by the time they followed a student through four years of high school and anticipated the district would make them available to graduates for a nominal fee.

“I’m glad the board is committed to doing this,” Dorathy said. “I think it’s a good thing for our students and makes them more competitive with students on other Kansas districts that have already made one-to-one initiatives.”

Comments

BaldwinDad 2 years, 3 months ago

One would think an eReader would be much better option and quite a bit less expensive then the iPad, you can buy quality eReader or even Android based tablet online all day for under a $100 each.

Even better is a laptop, windows based laptops are on sale all day from several brick and mortar stores for under $300.

While I think updating how we disseminate the information to the children via an electronic method is a good idea it sounds to me like Dorathy has done hardly any research on the topic or even tried to find the best solutions for the kids and the tax payers.

By the way I have not seen it posted anywhere, but has Dorathy revealed the official tallying of savings from closing the two outlying schools yet??

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hyperinflate 2 years, 3 months ago

You're completely missing the point here. If TerriLois Gregory gets her way there will be NO limits whatsoever to the amount of property taxes that the School Board can assess. No simple low-end iPads for our students then. No Sirree.!!! It's gonna be fully loaded, 4G cellular enabled, retina display iPads for every single student. Scratch that, one iPad per student for the home, and another one for each student to keep at school since it would totally destroy the educational experience if the student accidentally left it at home or was unable to learn at all during homework time in the evening because the iPad was gracing the locker or desk at school. Gotta have hand-stitched leather cases for each iPad, engraved with the student's initials in order to make every student feel completely welcome and at ease with technology.

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BaldwinDad 2 years, 3 months ago

It is pretty pathetic to even consider this with the costs being what they are, heck Walmart has a 7" Android Tablet on sale right now with the latest version of the O/S for like $99, not to mention the fact they have 11.6" Netbooks with Windows 7, which is a operating system the kids will actual find useful in the future business careers, for under $300 each.

The idea of iPads at $500 each even on a interest free loan is ridiculous considering half the internet which is Flash based will not even work on them. What you are paying for with Apple is service and style, not functionality and performance.

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hyperinflate 2 years, 3 months ago

Free your mind, B-dad. Costs of items for the District (needed or not) are soon to be the most minor consideration. If Gov. Brownback's school finance plan (heartily endorsed and actively supported by Ms. Gregory) goes through, there is absolutely no limit whatsoever to the amount of property taxes that Dorathy can ask the rubber-stamp Board to levy. I have no doubt whatsoever that they will behave dutifully, just like the last Board did for him.

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