Recommendation coming on iPads in classroomsFarmington superintendent Jay Haugen sees excitement growing around the idea of iPads and other new technology in the classroom. The result could be shiny new tablets for every student in the district as early as next fall.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
Farmington superintendent Jay Haugen sees excitement growing around the idea of iPads and other new technology in the classroom. The result could be shiny new tablets for every student in the district as early as next fall.
Earlier this year a group of district representatives joined a group from the Spring Lake Park School District on a trip to Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. When he came back, board member Brian Treakle called what he saw “the direction education is going.”
Others seem to feel that way, too. Since the trip, representatives from the two school districts have met twice to talk about what technology is available and what the districts can do with it in their classrooms. The most recent meeting, held March 7, involved more than 100 teachers and other staff members. They talked about the possibilities in front of them.
“By the time they were done they were all making arrangements to Facetime each other on their iPads,” Haugen said.
Haugen championed the addition of iPads to the classroom in his former district, and he is enthusiastic about the way the tablet computers get individual students engaged in the learning process. He sees the devices as key in efforts to tailor lessons to each individual student.
“Over and over the answer seems to be, yes, this technology has gotten us to the point where we can start imagining finding ways to have every student be successful,” he said.
Haugen plans to make a recommendation on technology purchases at the board’s workshop meeting March 26. That recommendation could involve some subset of the school population, or it could be to provide iPads to every student in the district.
Whatever direction the process goes, Haugen said he wants to change the way technology is viewed in the district. He wants it to be an everyday part of the classroom experience, rather than some computers tucked away in a lab.
“(We need to figure out), how can we do this and have it be a mainstay, have it be just the way we do our work,” Haugen said.
The district also has to figure out how to pay for whatever it does. That answer is not clear yet, but Haugen hopes to find a way to make the purchases part of the district’s regular budget rather than trying to fund it with grants or other one-time money. Treakle pointed out when the group returned from California that the district currently has a six-figure paper budget that could shrink if iPads become commonplace. The district could also save on textbooks if it moves to computer based curriculum.
Whatever the next step is, Haugen believes the district has to do something to keep moving forward.
“It’s probably more dangerous that we move to slow than that we move too fast,” he said. “There is kind of a wave and a momentum that gets built. If you miss that, you kind of do lose the momentum and some of the excitement about them.”