Apple, iBooks, PowerSchool make school news
Apple, iBooks, and PowerSchool have made headlines in various school newspapers across the US today, mainly as a result of new technology programs being implemented.
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Maine has a state program to provide iBooks to seventh graders statewide. And at Windsor Elementary School', Jana Diket, lead tech teacher, is looking forward to seeing the laptops on the desks of her students through the year, according to a MaineToday.com article.
English instruction can include Internet-connected games and exercises that will help her students learn more quickly, and her social studies classes will have iBooks available for "virtually unlimited research" from the rural elementary school, she said. "The kids are able to go places they may not be able to go in a car or an airplane," Diket told MaineToday.com.
The laptops delivered to Windsor Elementary School are part of a four-year $37.2 million contract between Macintosh and the state. More than 17,000 iBooks have been delivered to schools around Maine for seventh-graders, with more than 2,200 teachers also receiving them as part of the state program. Diket said Windsor Elementary School expects to receive another batch of computers next year to hand out to next year's seventh-grade class. After that the computers will revolve among future classes.
"Can you imagine the impact these will have when the teachers have 29 students with computers on their desks, and the teacher won't be lecturing for 45 minutes. It will be interactive," Principal Donna Sawyer told Mainetoday.com. "Computers on all the students' desks will revolutionize instruction in classrooms.
Enthusiasm for iBooks is also high in Arkansas. At Greenland Elementary School each student in kindergarten through fourth grade will receive an Apple laptop as part of a wireless network being established at the school. The program extends the district's commitment to provide all students in kindergarten through 12th grade with a technology-enriched curriculum, according to a NWA Morning News story.
The district has pledged $447,000 to buy the computers. The program includes "extensive support" from Apple to aid teachers in using technology in their classroom.
"When you put computers in the classroom, there are no limits to what teachers can do to take students where they have never been before," Darrell Lynn, who directs Apple's Lighthouse Project, a one-year-old program to put more computers in the hands of students, told the NWA Morning News.
Greenland is the first public school district in the US to implement the Lighthouse Project. and running. A portion of a $218,000 grant from the Arkansas Department of Education will fund the first payment of $147,000. The district plans to apply for additional grants to pay the balance.
"[The program] will expand and enhance what our children are learning," assistant superintendent Gary Davidson told Greenland School Board members yesterday.
In Walker County, Georgia, school administrators hope Apple's PowerSchool information system won't "take a bite out" of the school system's budget, according to a Walker County Messenger article.
The story quotes superintendent Roy Sapough as saying he's not comfortable relying on the state's promise to reimburse the $178,800 the county will shell out for the system. The state requires schools to upgrade the student information system and has promised a reimbursement for the system.
The school board apparently has no qualms about PowerSchool itself, however. PowerSchool is a completely Web-based student information system that enables districts and schools to record, access, report and manage their student data and performance records in real-time. Parents, students, teachers and administrators use the system to share information about grades, attendance records, and homework assignments. The PowerSchool student information system is used by well over 2,000 schools in the U.S.