We held community information meetings this past week about our ideas surrounding transformational technology — 20 people attended last Saturday, April 21 and 15 people attended on Tuesday, April 24. I shared a presentation very similar to the video I’ve posted on this blog and took general questions for approximately the first hour. I shared several iPad apps to demonstrate the ability of the tablet device. These included:
- iBooks text books - Life on Earth and Building a Nation
- TopIt Addition 0-12
- National Archives
- The Presidents
- Classical Lite
- Garage Band
We broke the attendees into small groups for the next hour to discuss three questions:
1. What excites you about this idea for our students and teachers?
2. What concerns you about this idea?
3. Please list the top five things you’d want to make sure the District considers as it develops this further.
The groups had many thoughts:
People were excited about the opportunities for interactive content for students, the thought of significantly reducing the weight of student backpacks, and the ability for tablet computers to provide differentiated materials at an academic level and learning style most appropriate for each student.
There were concerns — and we’re happy that they are some of the very same worries we have had already. These included teacher training, misuse of the device, damage to the device, policies covering acceptable use of the devices, and ensuring our technology infrastructure was prepared to handle the devices.
One interesting concern shared by one small group was what happens to our students if we don’t choose to integrate these devices in our school district. Basically, if we choose not to “go down this road” and other schools do, are there long-term consequences for our students?
I was very pleased with the participation in these two meetings — the input we received will be extremely valuable as we begin to develop a “road map” that will be proposed to the School Board in May.