ROCKLAND, Maine — Some kindergartners, third-graders and special education students in the midcoast will get iPad tablets next year if the school district’s technology committee has its way.
The proposal will be brought to the school board next week, according to Regional School District 13’s business manager Scott Vaitones.
Teachers in the district will be asked to create proposals, and the best explanations about how the iPads will be used for educational purposes will be awarded the gadgets. Ultimately, only one kindergarten, one third-grade and one special education teacher will get the iPads.
The program will cost $30,000 and must be approved by the school board and then residents at the public budget meeting before it can be implemented.
“It’s been a discussion for a while in the technology committee. They feel it’s an evolving technology and the way the world is headed. Other schools are working with iPads,” Vaitones said Friday. “We’re also looking at 2 years from now — the MLTI program [Maine Learning Technology Initiative] will be back to bid. We don’t know if the state will want a laptop or tablet program, so we are trying to create a knowledge base.”
The iPad pilot program will work to engage young learners, supporters say. IPad applications can help students learn to count, do math, read and learn their colors.
“What I’m hearing constantly is that iPads are extremely engaging,” said the technology committee chairman, Loren Andrews. “That’s important. Engagement is one of the most important things we can work on. Whether it’s a 2-year-old or my 88-year-old mother, technology is useful.”
And while technology can help students learn, it’s no teacher.
“Nothing replaces what our teachers do,” she said. “One-on-one time? Nothing replaces that at all, but we feel this is a helpful tool in the overall process.”