Edgewood rolls out tablet program

By the end of the week, approximately 1,140 devices will be distributed to Edgewood High students, according to Robin Phares, the district’s technology integration specialist.

Having a mobile device for each student will profoundly change the way education is delivered, teachers said.

“It’s going to help me bring the classroom into their households,” said Ben Peterson, who teaches psychology and government. “It will allow me to be more proactive and make learning more participatory, and we hope it leads to actual improvement in learning.”

Phares said that a math teacher, for instance, can have the student record their voices as they verbally work their way through a problem and better understand how they might be having trouble with a concept. They can record their voices as they proofread their papers or use cameras to take pictures for projects.

The cost of the tablets came from the technology budget for the new building, which opened this year, Phares said.

“A lot of the students thought we’d be getting the devices the first day of school,” Peterson said. “So there’s been a lot of waiting and a lot of excitement.”

Teachers received their devices at the end of the last school year, Phares said, and have completed online training to help them use the devices effectively in the classroom.

“Our entire school has gone to a Google-based system,” she said. “Ever student and teacher has a Google email account and will be using their spreadsheets and documents.

“We have a tablet handbook that we developed that outlines student responsibilities and expectations along with general care of the devices,” she said.

Students will have 24/7 access, so procedures have been put in place for restrictions for use and an understanding that the school has the right to inspect the tablets at any time.

Senior Alexis Bowermaster said that having her own device will allow her more freedom to do her homework when she wants to do it.

“We have a computer at home, but the whole family uses it,” she said, including her two brothers.

Phares said that Edgewood chose the Android-based tablets over iPads or other devices because they are more compatible with the Google documents system and because iPads would require a student to have a credit card to access the app store.