Farmington teachers line up to be iPad early adopters190 Farmington teachers submitted applications to be among the first to have iPads in their students' hands when the 2012-13 school year starts in the fall. The district hopes to roll out 1,730 of the tablet computers to students.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
With shiny new iPads scheduled to land on their own desks this week, Farmington teachers are already lining up for the chance to be the first classroom to hand over the popular tablet computers to their students.
District administrators received 90 applications from teachers and groups interested in joining the field of early adopters that will launch the district’s iPad initiative next fall. All told, there are 190 teachers involved in those applications.
Farmington High School had the most teachers interested with 44.
“If we took everyone’s total requests, it would be 4,802 iPads that were requested,” said technology manager Julie Toner. “People are excited. You could feel the excitement in the buildings.”
The district will likely go with a somewhat smaller rollout of iPads next fall. Toner said the current target is 1,730 to be divided among schools based on the percentage of the district’s student population each school makes up.
That is still a big number as the district prepares to work out the hiccups associated with any such launch, but Toner called it “a nice compromise” between too many and too few.
Principals at each building will decide which applications to grant.
All of the teachers who applied for an early-adopter position agreed to be part of a professional online learning network, help lead implementation plans in their schools and open their classrooms to other teachers who want to see how they use iPads.
Board members were happy with the response when the numbers were presented at a Tuesday night workshop. Board member Brian Treakle said he was “shocked” to see how many teachers were ready to go right away next fall.
But others worried about whether there will be enough opportunities built into the process for teachers to work together rather than taking their iPads home for the summer and planning their own lessons.
Superintendent Jay Haugen said Tuesday those big-group discussion sessions are in the works, and FHS principal Ben Kusch told board members that he is encouraged by the number of applications that came in from groups of teachers at a grade level or within a subject area rather than from individuals.
“That eliminates some of that isolation,” Kusch said.
Haugen has touted iPads as a vital tool in a larger effort to customize education in Farmington schools. The district’s current plan is to put the iPads in several early-adopting classrooms next fall, then gradually expand the program as more and more teachers feel comfortable using them. The goal is to have iPads in the hands of all students by the end of the 2012-13 school year, though Haugen has said the process could take longer if it ever appears the district is not ready to take the next step.