The focus of Baylor classes will still be on the human interaction among students and teachers. The iPad will not be used for all things in all classes, it is merely another tool (albeit a powerful one) to get the most out of those relationships.
It is our belief that there are many tangible advantages iPads in Baylor classrooms, the most important among them include:
- iPads will allow us to do more collaborative, project-based work.
- The iPad will consolidate many functions for students because they will be textbooks, notebooks, lab books, calculators, emailers, calendars, cameras, video recorders, star maps, world atlases, language dictionaries, Shakespeare collections, lab computers, etc.
- We will operate more efficiently and sustainably. One of our school-wide goals, for example, is to cut photocopying in half by 2012-13 and by half again in 2013-14. Teachers will distribute handouts electronically, and students will have access to those handouts in class. Essays can be graded electronically, and so forth.
- Using a portable digital device will itself be an important 21st –century skill that our students should learn. The future is rather clear on this point: professionals in all career fields will be using iPad-like devices in their work. Many already are.
- We’re putting student backpacks on a serious diet. Medical authorities recommend that backpacks be limited to fifteen percent of a student’s body weight. Unfortunately, we have many students, particularly middle schoolers, routinely carrying more than that.
Why is Baylor adopting the iPad when it was not a laptop school to begin with?
We never felt that laptop technology, as it has existed over the past ten years, provided enough educational benefit to justify the cost to families. We’re adopting the iPad, however, because several trends make it the right technology at the right time.
- The iPad’s price of $499 makes it much more affordable than laptops.
- The iPad has an interface that is more intuitive than typical computers, making it easier to use.
- The proliferation of powerful, inexpensive “apps” will provide educational advantages in every class we teach.
- Textbooks are increasingly available in electronic form.
- WiFi technologies are now far more capable and affordable.
- There is an abundance of internet resources that can meaningfully enhance student learning.
- The iPad’s 10 hour battery life makes it a truly all-day device