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July 7, 2011
by: Dollie Cromwell, Journalist

An iPad for Every Student

The Etude Group, the non-stock corporation that oversees IDEAS Academy, The Mosaic School and ESAA, has chosen to pilot a program at The Mosaic School and IDEAS Academy in which students will use electronic textbooks.

Using charter school grant money from the federal government, The Mosaic School and IDEAS Academy are purchasing iPads for students and teachers at both schools. Apple is offering a group discount on the purchase of 210 iPads for this program, according to Ted Hamm.

Teachers received their iPads last week and are undergoing training on educations apps and ePub to create their own textbooks. Students will receive their iPads when school starts this fall.

“This program will keep textbooks current without purchasing actual books that quickly become outdated,” said Ted Hamm, administrator for the two charter schools.

“It’s giving students access to resources 24/7,” Hamm said of the iPad program. “There will be increased interactivity in the classroom through the iPad Networks. This brings education into the 21st century framework to prepare them for the current world of technology.”

“The District is pleased that the Etude Group is implementing the use of electronic textbooks. We continue to support expanding innovative opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Joseph Sheehan, Superintendent of the Sheboygan Area School District.

Various programs at the charter schools will be able to use the iPads to enhance classroom activities. Music technology will use them to create music using instruments hooked up to the iPads. Visual arts will use the sketch capabilities of the Wacom Tablet App. Social studies will use the interactive maps available online and will be able to visit artifacts and museums virtually. The drama and film department will use ReelDirector for classroom exercises in editing.

The potential cost savings of using iPads versus traditional textbooks and computers may be substantial. For example, the iPads have a free graphing calculator app versus having to purchase graphing calculators for classroom use.     

Students will use the iPads to access textbooks, to check out library books, to create personal portfolios, to use educational apps and to check school e-mail and the school calendar.

While the students will be allowed to use their iPads at home for homework, the iPads will remain the property of The Mosaic School and IDEAS Academy. All students must sign a contract when they are issued their iPads, and the schools have the right to review content on any iPad at any time.

The iPads will be returned to the schools at the end of the 2011-2012 school year.

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