This second presentation of using technology in the realm of education, pertains to a Florida school district and their plans for the 2011-2012 school year.

District Prepares for iPad Pilot Program
1. Reference information
News Article by Leo Shaw, “District Prepares for iPad Pilot Program,” in Manhattan Beach Patch July 20, 2011.

Link: http://manhattanbeach.patch.com/articles/district-begins-preparations-for-ipad-pilot-program

2. A brief description of the case
About 40 teachers from the Manhattan Beach Unified School District are assimilating iPads into their classroom culture for the 2011-2012 school year.  This program is presented as a pilot program exploring the possibilities of integrated technology.  Middle and high school subjects will install textbooks and apps specific for that class, while elementary teachers will use the iPads at least a minimum of one hour a day in the classroom.

3. The purpose of the innovation
The primary goal of the district, according to the article, pertains to enhancing students’ educational experience through the use of video, e-texts, and various educational apps.  Additionally, they are hoping for collaboration and an increased participation in class projects.

4. The technology and resources involved
The district will be purchasing 20 mobile carts, 20 laptops (assuming MacBook Airs), and around 600 iPads (each cart will hold 25-35 iPads).  Additionally, the selected teachers will undergo a total of three days of professional development.  The pilot program is expected to cost the district about $500,000.

5. What prior skills and knowledge are required of students
While the article does not mention anything specifically about the skills and knowledge students need to bring to the table, this reviewer holds that little to none will be necessary.  Students today have grown up in a digital world, practically every one of them either own an iPod Touch, iPad, or iPhone, or at the very least know someone who does and has used it.  Therefore, it should be expected that students will immediately have the skills to use the technology from the start.

6. What are students asked to accomplish exactly
Students will use the iPad as an extension of the classroom experience itself.  Homework, learning applications, and projects will all be completed through the iPad.  Students will be able to read their textbooks on the iPad, and collaborate on assignments.

7. What are the procedures of the project
For students, this program will take place over the course of the year.  There are no specific procedures for them to follow; for the goal of the program is to integrate the iPad into their academic life.  For the educator, there is an application process.  The article does not specify what responsibility the involved teachers’ hold. 

8. What are the advantages of the project
In the present culture of social media, integrating iPads into a school curriculum is most definitely forward thinking.  I believe this pilot program will work very well, for they are attempting to blend things students already do in their social realm with what they do in the educational realm.

9. What are the disadvantages of the project
The primary disadvantage that I noticed from the article pertains to an observation that the students will probably not be allowed to take the iPads home with them.  I’m making this assumption on the fact that 40 teachers will be in the program and only 20 classroom carts were purchased.  I believe this limitation will not allow the program to reach its full potential.

10.  What types of effective instructional strategies are included
The instructional strategies used will vary from class to class.  While the article gives no specifics as to how teachers will choose to utilize the iPads, I foresee a strong focus on collaboration and project-based learning.

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