iPad School Debate Update: Parents meet at Cheldelin

ipads2More than 30 Corvallis parents attended the Secondary Technology in the Classroom Night at Cheldelin Middle School last week. This was the latest event hosted by the Corvallis School District related to their 1:World initiative, which is intended to put iPads in the hands of district students. Devices are already being used at Cheldelin, Linus Pauling Middle School, and Mountain View Elementary. Corvallis high school students will be the next recipients.

Parents in attendance formed small groups and discussed their experiences, concerns, and recommendations. Teachers and administrators facilitated while school board members listened in. Some worries included practical and logistical issues such as downed servers and overly restrictive filters. School officials stated that such technical challenges were presently being resolved.

More fundamental issues were not so easily answered, and resulted in brief debates among the groups. There was disagreement over whether the cost of 1:World was the best use of taxpayer money. Some parents also suggested that the technology could have a detrimental effect on learning by increasing student distractibility and shortening attention spans. Surveys were collected from all present.

Breakout sessions followed the discussions. Parents witnessed how the technology is already being used in classroom settings. Math, science, and humanities teachers demonstrated that the iPads have not replaced spiral notebooks or pencil and paper. Instead, the tablets are being used as just another learning tool.

Assistant Superintendent Kevin Bogatin said that an upcoming community survey will provide additional input on the progress of 1:World. The district hopes to deliver a report to the school board as early as its March 10 meeting. At that time, a recommendation will be made for the timing of the distribution of iPads to the students of Crescent Valley and Corvallis high schools.

by Dave DeLuca