Many schools are using digital software and documents to teach students in an environment similar to the paperless ones many of them will be working in. But one school district is going beyond that by providing all fifth-grade students with an iPad to use at home and in school.
According to Boston.com, the Wellesley Education Foundation of Wellesley, Massachusetts began a program in 2011- "1:1 Technology Pilot" – giving the fifth-graders at one elementary school iPads to use both at home and at school. Now, the foundation plans to expand this to all fifth-graders in the district in the fall of 2013.
The decision to expand the program was made by the district when students' using iPads saw their test scores on a standardized math test increase. However, the news source explains there are not enough factors or time to really know the correlation between the technology and improvements in school work.
The students will be required to supply their own iPad, either purchasing one on their own and uploading the school's software, or leasing one from the school for $155 per year, with the option to purchase it after four years.
As the program website explains, using individual tablets "increases access to technology, facilitates formative assessment, supports general instruction, and enables new modes of differentiation, without stigma." The program also closes the "technology gap," so students all have the same resources when working at home.
For other schools that may be implementing similar programs, an accompanying task is to convert all paper documents to digital form, which can be a project in itself. Bulk scanning services can efficiently move worksheets and forms to electronic formats so documents are accessible on iPads and other tablets.