Colorado school goes all-Apple; iPads in classrooms spur student engagement to new heights

“And finally, they arrived — a wave of tablet devices that, combined with other Apple technology, created a schoolwide learning system [Legacy Academy, based largely on the second-generation iPad2 [sic],” Kevin Simpson reports for The Denver Post. “Well into a first, full year of experimentation, many educators also describe a steep learning curve with their introduction to the popular touch-screen tablet. Students use the $600 devices to read novels, shoot videos, conduct research, hone their writing skills and bring new enthusiasm to once-tedious drills on educational basics. Legacy even credits the new technology for an increase in enrollment.”

“But the iPad and its growing array of applications remain in their infancy — the device was introduced only two years ago… But some Colorado educators already note a change in classroom culture, whether by employing the devices piecemeal or all-out on a one-to-one, take-home basis,” Simpson reports. “Legacy has loaded anywhere from 80 to 130 on its machines. And months after the tablets’ introduction, students still see them as shiny objects that, not incidentally, bring a new dimension to academia. ‘I know it’s working, because when I go into classrooms and look at learning, I see a higher level of engagement than I’ve ever seen as a teacher or administrator,’ says Manitou Springs Middle School principal Chris Burr, whose district is phasing in the devices. ‘They’re more willing to write, to share, to critically think, to create.'”

MacDailyNews Note: Legacy Academy is Colorado’s first iSchool. Through a partnership with iSchool, Legacy has done a complete technology overhaul and implemented hundreds of Apple devices and substantial amounts of other Apple equipment. Legacy is a “One-to-One” environment in which every student (K-8) has their own iPad 2 for use during the school year. Students and their parents are responsible for the Apple equipment and the device is managed/controlled by the school. iPads are used on a daily basis in every class and have added a previously-unseen level of enthusiasm to the learning environment. In addition to individual iPads, Legacy Academy students also have access to MacBook Pros, an iMac Computer lab, high-speed internet, and file sharing systems that allow our teachers and students to collaborate on their locally hosted “cloud.”

Simpson reports, “Legacy’s choice to fully embrace iPads was part of its larger decision last spring to go all-Apple and earn designation as the state’s only iSchool. In the midst of budget cuts, the school found financing for the technology makeover from Apple and so far doesn’t charge parents any additional fee. Enrollment has grown from fewer than 300 — and on the decline — to 448, providing a significant per-pupil funding boost… Denver’s Grant Beacon Middle School won a grant to purchase 150 iPads… In Manitou Springs School District 14, administrators ordered 600 iPads — one for each student in grades five through eight plus a few classroom sets for the high school, which probably will get more tablets next year.””

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Schools that do not provide Apple iPads as soon as possible are doing their children and teachers a tremendous disservice.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Rafael” for the heads up.]

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Student math scores jump 20% with Apple iPad; transforms classroom education – January 20, 2012
Apple reinvents textbooks with iBooks 2 for iPad – January 19, 2012
Schools expect iPads to outnumber personal computers in next five years – October 31, 2011
OSU study finds Apple’s powerful iPad decreases expenses, increases productivity – May 3, 2011
Growing number of U.S. schools embrace Apple’s revolutionary iPad as learning tool – January 4, 2011
Rising generation of iKids slipping Apple iPads instead of books into school backpacks – December 14, 2010
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Apple’s revolutionary iPad dramatically helps Illinois autistic students – October 15, 2010
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    1. If you think “the unions” are the sole problem then you need to stop drinking so much at your next “Tea Party”.

      Try society’s indifference and lack of resolve to solve an education problem that has been growing for the past 40 years. (to say nothing of the collapse of the middle class forcing both parents to work among son many other reasons)

      But I guess if it makes you feel better to think that it’s not a lack of funding, it’s not the school to the test of NCLB, if you don’t have a problem with the property tax shifts o the last few decades,, and dozens of other reasons we American education is in the state that it is now, then go right ahead and you feel better about yourself by making simpleton posts blaming “the unions”.

      1. Teachers’ unions are the problem and vouchers are the answer.

        Apple CEO blasts teacher unions, says US schools are ‘unionized in the worst possible way’

        In [public] schools, people don’t feel that they’re spending their own money. They feel like it’s free, right? No one does any comparison shopping. A matter of fact if you want to put your kid in a private school, you can’t take the forty-four hundred dollars a year out of the public school and use it, you have to come up with five or six thousand of your own money. I believe very strongly that if the country gave each parent a voucher for forty-four hundred dollars that they could only spend at any accredited school several things would happen. Number one schools would start marketing themselves like crazy to get students. Secondly, I think you’d see a lot of new schools starting. I’ve suggested as an example, if you go to Stanford Business School, they have a public policy track; they could start a school administrator track. You could get a bunch of people coming out of college tying up with someone out of the business school, they could be starting their own school. You could have twenty-five year old students out of college, very idealistic, full of energy instead of starting a Silicon Valley company, they’d start a school. I believe that they would do far better than any of our public schools would. The third thing you’d see is I believe, is the quality of schools again, just in a competitive marketplace, start to rise. Some of the schools would go broke. Alot of the public schools would go broke. There’s no question about it. It would be rather painful for the first several years… But far less painful I think than the kids going through the system as it is right now.Steve Jobs, April 20, 1995

      2. There are many problems with education with unions being only one. But education is not about funding teachers retirements. I would rather pay teachers more and have them be more responsible for their own retirements like most of the rest of the population. Governent and self-serving politicians who are never held liable for their sometimes outrageous union promises (in return for campaign money and support) can no longer be trusted. California is near bankrupt on such promises initiated by the idiot left. As far as I’m concerned only Firemen and Police Officers, people who put their lives on the line, should have any kind of guaranteed retirement.

      3. Lack of funding isn’t the problem – or maybe it’s a lack of effective funding. According to 2006 data, the US is third in the world in funds expended per pupil in K-12 education, behind Switzerland and Norway, and not that far behind. We definitely spend more than Japan and Korea. That tells me a lack of money isn’t the problem. And given that we probably have similar costs of living to other First World nations and spend almost as much, why the heck do we get such miserable return on our investment?

    2. Here are 10 states’ rankings on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
         Virginia……. 16.6
         Texas……… 27.3
         N. Carolina.. 27.5
         S. Carolina…38.9
      Only one of these states, Virginia, is above the median; the rest are below with the last 4 at the bottom of the barrel. And what do these 10 have in common — oh, that’s right — they don’t allow collective bargaining, i.e., no teacher’s unions. Try peddling the “union’s are the problem” canard on the SciFy channel where it belongs..

    3. Parents are the first link in the educational chain. When parents lead by example, stay engaged, and foster an expectation of superior academic performance, kids will generally respond. The focus needs to be on learning, not just grades. I have seen kids adept at “getting grades” in high school and college that were not prepared to achieve in the real world. We need hands on, interactive classes that engage real world challenges.

      Granted, some parents are disadvantaged socioeconomically. When the parent does not have the educational background to help a child struggling with advanced courses or is a single parent working two jobs without much time to get engaged, then the child’s education is likely to suffer. That is why I believe that it is critical for schools to maintain and expand assistance programs for these kids. A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

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