Goodbye textbook, hello iPad

Just doing his homework?

Suburban school systems such as Burlington are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars next year on iPads, saying the mobile device is an integral learning tool for the future, but that doesn’t mean Boston students will be left in the past.  

Boston Public Schools will purchase 200 iPads next year as part of a pilot program for autistic students. The devices are being paid for by a grant, according to Melissa Dodd, chief information officer.

“We are looking to do some targeted pilots with focused student populations to see the benefits and challenges,” said Dodd. “The iPad allows you to customize and personalize learning for students.”

Right now, Boston has a handful of schools where each student has a laptop. The iPad is appealing for the future because it is easy to use and it is less expensive, said Dodd.

In addition to the pilot program, Dodd said some departments, teachers and administrators are purchasing iPads with funds from their budgets or as part of smaller grants.

Burlington High School will use next year’s textbook budget to purchase 1,100 iPads, one for each student in the school, and will invest $300,000 on the devices over the next three years.

“Classrooms haven’t changed for a long time,” said Burlington High Principal Patrick Larkin. “It’s going to be a much more interactive classroom with the iPad.”


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