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Editorial: Potential for iPads is obvious

If you visit enough classrooms at Farmington High School you'll probably see some pretty pedestrian uses of the iPads that became standard equipment for students and teachers late last December. You'll find teachers who use them sparingly if at all. You'll find students who are as likely to check their Facebook page on the devices as they are to do something that affects their education.

But you'll also see some pretty interesting things. You'll see setups like the ones that exist in at least two chemistry teachers' classrooms, where iPads are allowing students more than ever to work at their own pace and quite literally redefining the way an in-session class looks.

You'll see choir teacher Megan Dimich saving huge amounts of time by having students use iPads to record individual audition pieces while the choir as a whole sings together.

As the Farmington School District completes its one-iPad-per-student rollout this week, we haven't yet seen the full extent of what the tablet computers can mean for education in Farmington schools. But we're starting to get some hints.

There is still plenty of work to do. As school board member Julie Singewald pointed out Monday, the way teachers use the iPads -- and the way they expect students to use them -- varies widely from one classroom to the next. Students and their parents are forced to keep track of information in so many places it can feel intimidating.

But this is a learning process, and it seems likely things will settle down as everybody gets comfortable. Once that starts to happen, things could get really interesting.