Northfield School Board approves first wave of iPads - Northfield MN: Local

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Northfield School Board approves first wave of iPads

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Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 4:20 pm | Updated: 12:00 am, Wed Jun 13, 2012.

Northfield Public Schools are one step closer to having iPads for its students.

On Monday night, the Northfield School Board voted unanimously to approve the first phase of the Transformational Technology project, which provides all licensed staff and selected non-licensed staff with iPads for the 2012-13 school year.

“That first phase is basically purchasing new iPad tablets for all the staff in the district so they can begin training and using that technology,” said Northfield Superintendent Chris Richardson.

The district will enter a three-year lease of $40,960.31 per year to pay for the iPads. With extra costs of necessary apps and covers to protect the iPads, the district has already budgeted $65,000 in next year’s budget for the Transformational Technology project.

“I think that next year we’ll be poised to better understand, but I think it has so much potential for student learning,” said school board chair Ellen Iverson. “I think it’s really going to define a new way of student learning.”

With the first phase approved, the school district is already looking at the next steps.

“We’re going to begin training this summer,” Richardson said.

Training for staff will include a “Tech Boot Camp” for a week over the summer, as well as training on a weekly basis during the school year.

“At the same time, we will be making a call out to our staff to serve on one of six task forces,” Richardson said.

The task forces will look at more specific issues to do with the second phase of the Transformational Technology program: rolling out iPads for all students in the Northfield Schools. Each task force will address specific items, like the options of digital textbooks available, appropriate instructional strategies and communication with the community on how to prepare for students doing work on an iPad.

“We hope by January of 2013, we’ll be able to come back to the board with answers to questions and a sustainable financial plan to implement that program long term,” Richardson said. “We know that there are a lot of moving parts to that decision.”

By breaking the Transformational Technology project down into a process of at least two phases, the district hopes the teachers will become familiar with the technology, and the district can find the best method for going forward with the project.

“I like the idea that they’re looking at making this sustainable,” Iverson said. “We’re really anticipating this doing a lot for student achievement, but we want to do that really conscientious of how we’re going to be fiscally responsible and make this sustainable.”

Iverson also said she hopes that the district and school board can have more sessions with the community, like the informational meetings leading up to the school board’s decision.

The school board approved only the first phase of the program and still has to consider the best way to implement the second phase. But, as board member Noel Stratmoen said, the board now has the time to consider its options.

“The beauty of this process is we’re going to have time to be able to do that,” Stratmoen said. “This is a case where we decide what the schedule is going to be.”

Both school board members and district administrators did agree that this project is an exciting prospect for the future of Northfield students.

“I think the impact to the students will be incredible; I think the impact to teachers will be incredible,” Stratmoen said. “I think it’s the educational tool of the future.”

Allison Roorda covers education in Rice County. She may be reached at 645-1115. Follow her on Twitter @AllisonRoorda

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1 comment:

  • Afghan_Vet posted at 11:25 am on Thu, Jun 14, 2012.

    Afghan_Vet Posts: 23

    This just in...Northfield School District proposes operating levy every year so that teachers who are too cheap to buy iPads can have the taxpayers buy one for them, and so that the students can now more efficiently play Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja in class vice learing.

     

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