The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) recently approved a $30 million contract with Apple to give an iPad 30,000 students and teachers across 47 schools. The contract is only the first phase in what is expected to be a $500 million investment in more than 650,000 iPads across the entire District. Yesterday, LAUSD teachers were given their first day of training.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, 1,500 teachers from the 47 schools received their new iPads, which will be used for lesson plans, class assignments, homework, and tests.
Each iPad comes preloaded with software that is connected to Common Core, which is the national curriculum set to take effect in 2014. Over the next three days of training, teachers will be shown how to use the tablet, how to integrate the technology into the classroom environment, and more.
Pearson Education Inc., developed the Common Core software that includes updatable digital content, instructional videos, and games.
According to the L.A. Daily News, two-thirds of the schools involved in the first phase of iPad implementation were identified in a 2011 federal civil rights investigation as being “shortchanged by the District in terms of academic opportunities.” Principal Elizabeth Pratt of Hillcrest Elementary believes this program will bring more equality to the underdeveloped schools in the District. “Our kids haven’t had the same opportunities as students in other parts of the district, and that’s social injustice,” said Pratt. “They’re very excited to be part of something that is to pay off for them, forever.”
Each of the 30,000 iPads will come with a heavy-duty protective case. They are all equipped with filters to keep students from downloading objectionable materials. Part of Apple’s contract includes replacement of lost, stolen, or damaged tablets so parents won’t be obligated to buy insurance.
District Deputy Supt. for Instruction Jaime Aquino told the L.A. Daily News that he believes this program will help students acquire the skills and knowledge they need to compete in the broader education and work landscape.
“We talk about preparing for the ‘21st century workforce,’ but we’re 13 years into the 21st century,” he said. “We’re not preparing for the future. The future is now.”