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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

education

MCCSC working to give all staff, students iPads

With greater access to an assortment of technologies, the Monroe County Community School Corporation has decided to move its classrooms into the future.

The Digital Learning Initiative is an MCCSC program that aims to provide all instructional staff members with iPads and to give students equitable access to iPads by 2015.

“One year ago we had a meeting, and decided that a lot of our curriculum was heading towards technological integration,” said Jason Taylor, director of information services at MCCSC. “We chose the Apple iPad for its availability of content and creative apps, and for its battery life.”

Taylor said the Digital Learning Initiative is meant for all of MCCSC, but currently only about half of the students have access.

“We serve 11,000 students, but at first that was budgetarily impossible,” Taylor said. “So we divided up the iPad population by schools and are serving 5,500 students. We hope to serve the rest in the next couple years.”

Taylor said with MCCSC facing budget cuts over the past years, it has been difficult to generate the funds required for the Initiative.

“We sold bonds to raise revenue, and we’ve done a lot in our computer labs to reduce costs,” he said. “In the future, we’ll be able to retire some of our labs and reduce computer costs entirely.”

Taylor said they allowed each building principal to make a decision with their allotment to best serve the instructional needs and goals of their school.

The Digital Learning Initiative is meant to shift school technologies away from fixed computers and make it more mobile. In the process, it will also get rid of some textbook needs.

“Most of the replacement will be the supplemental material; worksheets, practice problems,” Taylor said. “Classic novels are all free online, so we’ll be able to access those. In some subjects, the iPads will replace textbooks, so we’ll be able to trim that budget, as well. But especially in elementary school, kids still need a tangible book.”

Taylor said there needs to be a professional staff for the Initiative.

“We have a digital learning team of coaches who work with teachers to integrate the device into the classroom and the curriculum,” he said.

Whatever the cost, Taylor said the Initiative is important because technology is the future of education.

“The biggest impact the iPads are going to have are on collaboration and communication between students,” he said. “It’s going to drastically change group work. We know how technology is shaping society and the corporate world, and we want to prepare students for this change. I don’t think students working from home is very far away.”

Stephen Kroll

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