Bishop Grimes seventh-graders Sarah Snavlin and John Wilbur use an iPad mini during class. “It’s kind of cool that you can just go on your iPad and pull up a book instead of having to go through your bag, grab your book and flip through the pages,” said Wilbur.
continued “It’s not just what you get out of them, it’s also what you can put into them,” Crouse said. “If you’re doing a project, you can use your tablet as a video camera or reading device. You can verbalize your notes using the right apps, and even write your essay that way.”
More and more students are being introduced to this kind of hands-on digital learning each year. In January, the Los Angeles Board of Education approved a $1 billion effort to provide computers to every student, teacher and administrator in the district, according to the Los Angeles Times. The board agreed to distribute iPads to every student at 38 more of its schools, begin a bidding process to provide laptops for students at seven high schools and buy as many iPads as needed to complete new state tests in the spring. The LA School District began the program this fall in 47 of its schools.
“When you look at society, youth are very much engaged in technology,” Crouse said. “They’re constantly connecting with each other. We are looking for ways to stay competitive and meet the current educational trends, but also keep kids engaged in learning.”
Bishop Grimes installed a firewall on its network which will prohibit students from visiting non- educational websites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Crouse said he’s also working to install an app on each teacher’s iPad which will allow them to monitor what each student is doing. But he’s not worried that many students will abuse the privilege of using the iPads.
“In science, we let them use the Bunsen burners and they don’t burn the school down because they know their limits,” Crouse said. “Just because you give someone something that has the ability to be used inappropriately, it doesn’t mean that they will.”