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Rockdale teachers get iPads for classrooms

Conyers Middle School teachers, clockwise from back right, Tiara Ferrell, Michael Xydias, David Crumbley and Heather Pittman, recently received iPads as part of Rockdale County Public Schools pilot Apple iPad implementation.

Conyers Middle School teachers, clockwise from back right, Tiara Ferrell, Michael Xydias, David Crumbley and Heather Pittman, recently received iPads as part of Rockdale County Public Schools pilot Apple iPad implementation.

CONYERS -- New technology in Rockdale County Public Schools is bringing teachers to the next level.

Already, schools are equipped with 21st century technologies, laptops and wireless capabilities, and now officials are trying to delve even deeper into available digital technologies, like iPads and accompanying applications for education.

"We want to take more advantage of digital resources for all students," said Gene Baker, assistant superintendent for School Improvement at RCPS. "This is not just about technology -- this is about individualized learning for students and individualizing the experience."

Recently, RCPS distributed 10 Apple iPads to each of its facilities as part of a pilot program. Principals distributed them equitably between grade levels and content areas based on a demonstrated history of technology integration, being technologically savvy and innovated thinking, among other skills.

Selected teachers will be able to share with other teachers and have focus groups.

The iPads were set up with some texts, apps and other features. Teachers can download or purchase new apps, and some may be purchased through individual schools or the system, Baker said.

The teachers also have the ability to wirelessly connect to new Apple TV programs to bring up digital content for students. They also can connect to the interactive boards that already are set up in the classroom.

Baker said that some other teachers already bring their personal devices to the classroom, and some schools have purchased sets through school funding to enhance learning, so this adds to the pool of devices. Some students also bring digital devices to classes to use educationally.

The cost of the new iPads, Apple TVs and connection equipment was about $175,000, which was paid for using SPLOST dollars.

Eventually, more iPads and other digital devices are expected to be added to classrooms.

At the end of this school year or at the beginning of the next school year, Baker said he hopes to have another iPad drop to more teachers. Future technology will be purchased with various funding, including SPLOST funds, grants, the federal reimbursement E-Rate program and other ways.

"Funding is always an issue; funding for technology is always a challenge," Baker said. "I think it will involve all funding sources."

In addition to using classroom iPads now, students ultimately will be learning off their own personal digital equipment that will be constantly updated and contain interactive material, Baker said. He added that more and more textbooks are going away, and teachers are building digital resources and texts.

"We're moving toward making sure we are keeping up and being on the cutting edge of how students learn," Baker said. "It's going to happen."

In the future, RCPS also will communicate more with parents digitally, through apps and online support, he said.

Comments

INJUSTICE_FOR_ALL 1 year, 3 months ago

how long before they get stolen? day, week

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Clark 1 year, 3 months ago

At least they could have used something that runs Android and either gotten their money's worth, or not had to pay an arm and a leg for a closed, proprietary system.

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heresyafacts 1 year, 3 months ago

"students ultimately will be learning off their own personal digital equipment" -- so, we're giving them digital equipment now? In addition to free lunches, free school supplies, free backpacks, free cell phones, etc.

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Elmo 1 year, 3 months ago

So, will these be used to see who will have the best state test scores in "Angry Birds"?

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CitizenPat 1 year, 3 months ago

If you have a student in Middle or High School then you are aware that they are carrying around 30-70lb's of school books on a regular basis throughout their day. Most students are not given an opportunity (they have 5 minutes to get to the next class regardless of where it is located) to get to their lockers more than once a day and many don't even bother and just keep all of their books in the backpack. Since our bones don't completely harden until we reach the age of 25 there may be long term detrimental effects to the studen't bones from carrying this much weight in their backpacks. Tablets or Ipads for the students would eliminate this problem and the future possibilities of litigation against the school system for not giving the students enough time to lighten their load without getting into trouble for being late to class. Of course the school could always allow ten minutes between class times but apparently they don't want to have to monitor the hallways. Either way something will need to be done soon.

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