New Trier puts iPads to the test
Take Our Poll
Do you approve of using iPads in class and for testing?
Updated: October 28, 2012 6:08AM
WINNETKA — Early indications are that New Trier High School’s expanded mobile learning initiative is a huge hit with faculty and staff, but the Board of Education wants to wait before calling it a success and expanding it.
After a brief trial run last year, the board in March approved a pilot program that put Apple iPads in the hands of more than 600 students in select courses for the 2012-13 school year.
The devices allow students to write notes, take tests and turn in homework, all without using paper.
Students like Elizabeth Lee, who is one of only 10 students enrolled in three classes that accept iPads, would burn through their printing account funds in the past, but have not done so this year.
“We’re almost completely paperless in French class,” she said. “The one test we had was on the iPad. Normally I prefer paper over digital files, but in this case it’s a lot easier to take really quick notes on the iPad.”
Though some issues with network speeds and the availability of e-books remain, District Director of Technology Chris Johnson said things are improving.
“Apple originally released nine e-books when we started,” Johnson said. “Today they’re up to 190. The number of e-books available has increased amazingly. It will be interesting to see who the dominant players are in the future.”
Student James Resko, who uses his iPad for physics class, is one of the lucky ones to have his textbook available through the tablet device.
“Through an application I was able to rent it for one year,” Resko said. “I rented it for $10 which is really nice for a textbook.”
While reviews during the first few weeks of school are positive, the board plans to monitor the program closely to see what value the iPads bring to the education of the students.
“This is a pilot program,” Board President Alan Dolinko said . “We have yet to asses a real impact on learning. One concern I would have is it’s a lovely piece of equipment that can not only be a great tool, but a great distraction.”
Lee and Resko both said the novelty of the devices wore off quickly and students in their advanced classes realized the iPads are there as an essential part of learning.
“In the class I’m in, you don’t have enough time to goof off in 40 minutes,” Lee said. “Maybe you check Safari for sports for a minute, but after that I have to do my work.”