District 181 considers iPads for most students
Students at Hinsdale Middle School used laptops and iPads for a spring science project. The Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 School Board is planning to consider a recommendation to provide all students in third through eighth grades with
Updated: June 22, 2012 10:09AM
All students in third grade and up in District 181 may soon have iPads provided by the district, under a plan by an initiative committee.
Teachers and administrators support the plan, which calls for students in third and sixth grades to receive iPads in the fall of 2012. The rollout would continue with students in fourth and seventh grades in 2013, and fifth and eighth grades in 2014.
The committee explored options for student learning that would promote creativity, problem-solving and educational risk-taking through the innovative use of technology.
The Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 Board is scheduled to discuss at the plan its meeting at 7 p.m. June 25 at Elm School, 15W201 60th St., Burr Ridge.
As part of its study, the committee conducted research in fifth-grade classes at The Lane, Elm and Madison schools.
Anticipated increased costs for providing the iPads are: $284,628 in 2012-13; $277,278 in 2013-14; $418,412 in 2014-15; $292,495 in 2015-16; and $292,495 in 2016-17. Costs for those final two years will be used to replace the earliest-purchased equipment.
The committee also is recommending funding for three additional help desk technicians to support the iPads and $53,000 for substitutes to facilitate a coaching role for staff members, who would spend some time instructing others.
The estimated staff costs represent an increase of $189,506 in 2012-13; $194,966 in 2013-14; $200,645 in 2014-15; $177, 551 in 2015-16; and $183,693 in 2016-17.
While the iPad recommendation certainly isn’t an inexpensive proposition, implementation would reduce some of the computer-related expenditures, said Janet Stutz, assistant superintendent for Learning.
“There are other computers we wouldn’t purchase with this; a lot of it is reorganization,” Stutz said. “This really is about access to content; creating a learning environment that goes beyond the classroom.”
Stutz said that while most of District 181’s students have access to computers at home, providing them with iPads makes for a different experience.
“This would allow having a teacher facilitate as you go along,” she said. “It’s possible in the future the need for some textbooks could be eliminated, as materials become available in a digital format.”
Stutz said she believes iPads are preferable to laptops in the classroom because iPads allow for better focusing by students.
“And when it’s open so that the teachers can see what’s on there all the time, that’s probably better for the students, too,” she said.
The potential loss by students of iPads, or the breaking of them, is a consideration. But Stutz said she doesn’t look at it as a major concern.
“Kids have grown up with digital and technology,” she said. “They have learned to take pretty good care of things like this.”