BA plans for iPad use in some classes

Published 7:00 pm Friday, May 31, 2013

In an effort to keep up with technology and to save paper and money, all Brookhaven Academy senior-level courses will begin using Apple iPads in the classroom.

The iPads will be used in a variety ways from textbooks to taking notes. Dr. Dianne Watson, the anatomy and physiology, chemistry and physics teacher, helped to get the iPads in place at BA. She said the e-book textbooks are a key benefit. The e-books are substantially cheaper, only costing around $20 rather than $100.

“We’ll always have the latest edition,” she said. “Textbooks don’t go out of date.”

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Watson also said the e-books include videos, links and overall better visuals to help facilitate the learning of the students. If a student is reading about a process he or she does not understand, a video may help to show the same information in a new way. Also, if a student is particularly interested in one topic, links to more information on the topic can help fuel that interest.

The iPads can also be used as a notebook, for Internet access and to take tests on. For any Internet concerns parents may have, BA will have the ability to block certain sites while students are on campus. While BA administration has not discussed monitoring student history even when students are off campus, Watson said she knows this is possible if parents are concerned.

For teachers, the iPads will also allow interaction with PowerPoint and free them from being confined to their desk. For students, using the iPad as a notebook allows better organization. The iPads can be used to download teachers’ notes, share students’ notes with each other and integrate pictures into class notes. Students can write on the screen with their finger, a stylus or use a keyboard.

“It’s just phenomenal,” Watson said about all the capabilities the iPads have.

Watson said the iPad was chosen because Apple is working with schools across the nation to integrate iPads and MacBooks into schools.

Apple representatives have visited the schools to help train teachers and show what the device is capable of. Watson said this training is essential in integrating the iPad into the classroom.

“The device is only as good as the teachers using it,” Watson said. “It could be a paperweight if they don’t know how to use it.”

Watson said many teacher conferences are teaching more about technology than anything else, and this is becoming a standard for the future.

The iPad was chosen over the MacBook because of the lower cost and the quicker start up and shut down time. Students will be responsible for providing their own iPad. The school will continue to phase in the iPad throughout the high school.