“Before, during and even between classes at Hillbrook School this fall, seventh-graders have been spotted on the Los Gatos campus, sometimes burbling Spanish or Mandarin phrases into the glowing screen in their hands, other times staring into it like a looking glass,” Bruce Newman reports for The Mercury News.
“iPads — the Apple of almost every adolescent’s eye — are being provided to students at several Bay Area public and private schools this year, including Hillbrook, which claims to be the only K-8 school in America using tablet computers in class and sending them home,” Newman reports. “This has led to a lot of 12-year-olds swanning around the wooded hillside campus, talking to their iPads.”
Newman reports, “Summoning up a virtual keyboard recently, Sophie Greene quickly typed a note to herself in iCal, a calendar program, then played back an audio file in which she was speaking Spanish. ‘We record a conversation, e-mail it to our teacher, Señorita Kelly,’ she explained, ‘then she critiques the lesson in Spanish and sends that back to us.'”
“For the 28 seventh-graders entrusted with iPads at Hillbrook, the pictures that flash across the device’s screen open a window to a wider world. The iPad allows them to take daily excursions across time and space to such exotic ports as ancient Mesopotamia and modern China,” Newman reports. “The only drawback is that with their assignments all composed on iPads, the one excuse that no longer works for Hillbrook’s seventh-graders is, ‘The dog ate my homework.'”
Newman reports, “At Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose — which introduced 32 iPads into the classroom this fall — the devices are used only in class. And Stanford’s School of Medicine gave 92 iPads outright to its first-year students this September. At Hillbrook, which received its iPads last summer as a gift from the parents of two students, seventh-graders like Sophie slip the handheld devices into backpacks at the end of the school day. Hillbrook’s program has been such a hit that it will be expanded next year to include eighth-graders.”
“Apple essentially had cornered the consumer tablet market when administrators at Hillbrook, Mitty, University High School in San Francisco and San Domenico in Marin were considering the iPad last summer as an educational implement,” Newman reports. “‘It seemed clear to us that it’s a revolutionary kind of tool,’ said Brent Hinrichs, Hillbrook’s head of middle school. ‘It gets everyone involved all the time. That interaction is critical in having them think and experience every moment that they’re in the classroom.'”
Full article here.