Giving an apple to a teacher stands as a traditional gift from students, and now Lawrence school board members are poised to elevate the practice to a high-tech level.
Monday night, board members will consider paying $122,230 for 172 new Apple iPad2s, plus associated equipment and software. The tablets would be used by teachers and, eventually, their students to try out new programs, curriculum and other matters in relating to reading, technical education and professional development.
The iPad2s wouldn’t be theirs to keep, but they would be able to explore the units’ applications, capabilities and opportunities.
“We see this as a great opportunity,” said Kim Young, a curriculum specialist in language arts for the Lawrence school district. “It could really move our district forward, in terms of technology, and move our students forward for the future.”
Uses planned for the iPad2s:
• Language arts, specifically for American Literature classes at the 11th-grade level at Free State and Lawrence high schools. Students would use the iPad2s in class, as their teachers came up with ways to use them. Students would be able to read books online, instead of relying on textbooks last purchased in 1999.
• Media education through “career pathways” in both middle schools and high schools. Students without smartphones could use the iPad2s to conduct firsthand reporting about live events.
• Data collection from “walk-through observations,” the 5-minute sessions in which observers visit teachers’ classrooms to see what they’re doing right and what could be improved.
Among sources of financing for the new iPad2s and related equipment and software: money set aside for furnishings and technology upgrades through the district’s capital outlay fund, grant revenue, student fees, and funds set aside for contracted professional development.
Monday’s meeting begins at 7 p.m. at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive, immediately following an hour-long study session covering the district’s efforts regarding curriculum.