By Shelley Widhalm Reporter-Herald Staff Writer
LOVELAND — Each ninth-grader at Loveland Classical Schools will be getting an iPad this fall to read some of the classics and to access textbooks and other materials.
“They can carry one iPad around with a majority of their texts, instead of carrying around a ton of books,” said principal David Yu. “We are a classical school, and we like to read the classics. A lot of those classics can be downloaded for free.”
The charter school is providing the tablet computers – which are on order – to each of the 31 ninth-graders and one for every two students in grades 7-8. There are 50 students in seventh grade and 38 in eighth.
The school is leasing the iPads using money from the technology budget, which is largely funded through per-pupil funding the school receives from the state for its operations, Yu said. At the end of four years, the school can return the iPads or purchase them at value, he said.
After four years, the school plans to purchase the iPads to give to those students who attend the charter school from opening day through their senior year, Yu said. The students will have a library of materials that they can take with them, he said.
“If the budget allows, we’ll keep this going,” Yu said about giving future graduating classes the iPads if they attend all four years.
This year, the school ordered 50 iPads for the ninth grade and 50 for the seventh and eighth grades. The extra 25 iPads will be available for teachers to use for special assignments.
The ninth-graders will check them out to take home, but the seventh- and eighth-graders will be required to leave them at the school. The iPads will be closely monitored with software that prevents app downloads and visits to noneducation websites.
“We are able to lock them down and give them an educational value, not an entertainment value,” Yu said.
The iPads will be used as multi-textbooks. Most of the literature and history texts will be downloaded onto the iPads or accessed online, saving on costs of books, Yu said.
“What I’m really excited about is the direct access to larger search engines,” said Amanda Brazzel, history teacher at the school, mentioning the Library of Congress and the Fordham University online history sourcebook, as well as images of historical maps and sites. “What that allows me is to step away from the limitations of textbooks, so I can have access to secondary sources through university search engines.”
Plus, Brazzel won’t have to make photocopies, she said.
Students will be able to annotate as they read their material, choosing to add a note to the text, Yu said.
“If you have one iPad, you have a plethora of books and access to the Internet,” Yu said.