In some school districts, algebra textbooks are being replaced by iPads.
At Gateway Middle Schook, students are using iPad texts instead of traditional books for their algebra I and English 8
Principal Rocco Telli hopes the program will last five years. 270 iPad tablets have been distributed to the eighth graders who are enrolled in the courses. Students may take them home, to use for homework. The iPads will be returned to school next year.
Algebra I textbooks have already been loaded on the iPads. This eliminates the need for students to carry books for that class.
Mr. Telli said the textbook the school is using for algebra was developed in conjunction with regional math teachers and the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, the organization that encompasses the county’s 42 suburban school districts.
“We thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great if we can get this for the kids here?’ ” Mr. Telli said.
The district purchased about 300 iPads, so it would have a surplus, if needed. The cost, about $500 for each 16GB device, was included in this year’s technology budget. Additionally, iPad minis were distributed to teachers.
“Part of our five-year initiative is to get something in everyone’s hands,” Mr. Telli said.
“It enables students who are digitally proficient to use a tool they may not have been able to have at home,” said middle school assistant principal Joe DiLucente.
Mr. Telli added that many staff members are “excited because of the possibilities and potential” of the technology. He said the iPads are one of the tools teachers can use in the classrooms with traditional textbooks.
“It’s funny because they are technically still looking at a textbook,” said Kristen Morton, who teaches algebra I at the middle school. “The kids are more involved, even though it’s basically the same idea,” she said.
She said with the iPads, the students can “basically customize their textbooks.”