Meeting relieves parent concerns
Monday, 24 September 2012 by Jenna Magness
At Belton High School, notebooks and textbooks are out and iPads are in for the 2012-2013 school year.
Instead of handing in assignments, students merely have to send an email, via iPad, to their teachers that arrive instantaneously. Teachers no longer have to collect papers; they have all the assignments on one device. With the introduction of iPads, students won't have to carry a huge backpack that weighs them down.
According to Terice Schneider, Instructional Technology Coordinator for the Belton Independent School District, the iPad has been used before in a classroom.
"We tried a pilot iPad two years ago in classrooms and the response was very well received. Then last year, we experimented with letting students take iPads home and that worked well too."
With kids coming to class more enthusiastic and acting engaged in their work, the superintendent and school board voted to add the iPads permanently.
The school used the Instructional Materials Allotment (IMA) fund to purchase iPads for both the high school and middle school.
On September 21st, students will receive the iPad 2, an Otterbox case, and a Power Brick Power Cord in their English class. The merchandise must be returned in the same condition at the end of the school year. That means no stickers, scratches, or any other type of damage can be done to the equipment.
Only costing students 30 dollars, the money collected for the iPad will help the district replenish these devices.
The iPad must be fully charged and ready at the start of the day and it must stay in its case. No iPads are allowed during exams unless the teacher plans to use them.
The question most parents are asking is, if it's safe. The answer is, yes. All the iPads come with a parent's code that parents can log into and monitor their child's work. Teachers can do the same.
Although students can take the iPad home, they do not have access to the Internet unless parents provide it. Public Internet will be provided using the Belton Wireless Project that lets students access Internet from places around Belton.
Right now, only a few textbooks or "ebooks" can be used online. The district is hoping to head into the direction of there being no textbooks at all.
With iPads helping to increase attendance in classrooms and by being more "hands on" for students; the Belton district will continue to find ways to make its schools better.