Harbor View sixth-graders will have a new back-to-school item to add to their piles of sharpened pencils and three-ring binders: Apple iPads.
The pilot iPad program began earlier this year when the Harbor View Dads fundraising group decided to fund a new technology program that would use tablets in the classroom, according to the group’s website.
“Working closely with the school administrators, the technical support staff and the District to plan out all the details, the Harbor View Dads finalized a plan which the District approved as a Pilot program for the 2012-13 school year,” the website states.
Harbor View Dads authorized up to $25,000 toward the program, said Nik Froehlich, president of the HV Dads group. “Plus we generated approximately an additional $13,000 in iPad donations at the annual fund raiser,” he said in an email. Most students, he added, had an iPad or access to one at home based on a survey the group conducted.
This summer, a consultant who has been involved in iPad educational programs worked with local educators on the pilot program, the HV Dads’ website states.
Once the iPad program begins, the students’ educational experience will “be measured and compared on both an Quantitative and Qualitative basis and the results will be reported to the District in determining if the program can be continued and expanded.”
About 60 sixth-graders will participate, but if early results are significant, Harbor View Dads will begin working quickly to bring fifth graders on board, as well as other grades, the website states.
Harbor View Dads committed to pay for the program’s launch, including purchasing an inventory of loaner iPads, support staff salaries, software and more.
Teachers have been trained and will get to decide how to use the iPads in their classrooms, Froelich said.
“This is a learning process for everyone and we expect that it will take some time to get to the full advantage of the program,” he said.
Newport-Mesa Unified School District spokeswoman Laura Boss said in an email that as with all pilot programs, it’s too early to tell if the iPad program will be successful enough to replicate.
“The Harbor View project is a model that we would definitely like to see replicated and hopefully we will see educational results from the pilot program,” Boss said. “The caveat for expansion is based on several factors including results of the pilot and future funding.”