New Boston School this year has purchased 240 Apple iPads and 94 Apple MacBook computers for elementary students and teachers. The computers cost $312,000 and were all paid for using grant money given to the elementary school.
New Boston Technology Coordinator Terry Salyers said he’s not aware of any other school district in Scioto County that has so many iPads for students.
The computers are locked up inside mobile carts that can hold 24 MacBooks or 30 iPads securely inside, and there are 12 carts. Each grade (K-6) will share one cart, and there will be roving carts that can go wherever they are needed.
“We’ve had one of these in each building last year and it worked really good. They roll it in and each student has their own laptop and they sit down and go on the Internet or whatever assignment the teacher tells them,” Salyers said. “It makes any room a computer lab.”
There are student applications (“apps”) available for subjects such as math, reading, and even sign language and more. Students can read their entire text books on their iPad. After the class project is done, the computers are all put back into the cart where they are all kept charged, and the instructor can plug just one USB cable into his computer and download all of the kids’ projects at once.
“This technology is the environment that they live in right now. Technology is booming, and for us to be able to use the technology that these students know so well to improve their education is wonderful. This is the 21st century and these are skills they already have, so we’re just pulling it in for them to use it and work into our classrooms,” said Amy Gosselin, a third-grade teacher at Stanton Elementary School in New Boston.
Gosselin said the third grade tested the new technology last year with only five iPads, and she said the kids loved them.
“It will be a wonderful experience for everybody,” she said.
Because they are putting so much expensive technology into the hands of elementary students, teachers are going to be keeping a very close eye on them to make sure kids don’t drop them or play too rough.
Students aren’t the only ones who are learning on the new devices. For many students, this technology is familiar and fun, but some teachers needed a little extra time learning how to use them.
“A year-and-a-half ago we had a grant that came in and furnished iPads for four teachers so they could get used to them. I have a couple of them signed out right now so one teacher can examine some of the apps we want to get,” Salyers said. “Now we’ll have an opportunity to add more apps to this as the teachers learn more and see what apps are better for them.”
He also hopes to add more computers — but already at the high school there is one mobile cart, a media center with iMac computers, a technology classroom with more than 20 iMac computers, and a business classroom with 16 iMac computers. The district has also upgraded its wireless network to support the new mobile devices wherever they need them.
Next year, all students will move to a new K-12 school building being built on Lakeview Avenue in New Boston, and all of this new technology will go with them.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235, or firstname.lastname@example.org.