Tablets becoming the new classroom computer standard

School districts across Canada and the United States have embraced the benefits of tablets.

Schools across Canada and the United States have embraced the benefits of computers. Now, districts are increasingly taking things one step further by turning to tablets.

From April to June of this year, Apple sold 1 million iPads to high schools and universities. This is double the number sold during the same period last year, according to U.S. News and World Report.

“Education tends to be a conservative institution, but we’re not seeing that at all on the iPad,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said on a July 24 call with investors. “The adoption of the iPad in education is something I’ve never seen in any technology.”

Last year, about 400 school districts in the United States offered students their own iPads, according to a separate U.S. News and World Report article from last September.

“The myth is that textbooks drive what’s in classrooms,” Jeff Bertrang, principal of Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop High School in Minnesota, said to American Public Media. “Textbooks are just resources. The curriculum is what we need to make sure we hit with the kids. We’re not focused so much on textbooks as we are on what resources the teachers can find.”

Case studies
In a test conducted in four California school districts last year, students given their own iPad for school work tested at more than 90 percent above the current benchmark. The other students had a 60 percent proficiency. In addition, none of the 76 iPads issued were lost or stolen.

The program at Bertrang’s school started in 2010, and he told APM he considered it a success. He said it made kids more engaged in the learning process, and enabled greater collaboration through online portals like wikis.

Orlando Science Schools in Florida will this school year offer iPads to all of its students. Teachers will have to include the devices in their lesson plans, and students need to maintain a certain grade point average in order to keep the tablet for home and school use during the year, U.S. News and World Report said.

“I would say an iPad will one day be the same as a book bag or a ruler or a pencil,” Michael Singleton, the head of the charter school’s social studies department, said to the publication. “I think that the iPad will be an essential component to schools, [and] it’s certainly something we can’t ignore as a school – we need to embrace it.”

Should schools adopt the iPad as a replacement for a classroom computer? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think!

Scott Cornell

When he’s not knee deep in blogging and all things tech, Scott spends his free time playing ultimate Frisbee and watching foreign films. An expert in emerging tech trends, Scott always has his ear to ground for breaking news related to IT security.