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iPads for Middle Schoolers: California District Rolls Out Mobile Devices for Fall Semester

Students at Avery Middle School in California are receiving iPads as part of their standard classroom equipment for the fall semester.

The iPads are being distributed as part of a 1:1 initiative in which every eighth grader in the school is receiving the devices. Some sixth and seventh graders are also also receiving iPads. The school bought a total of 170 units for the program.

"After extensive evaluation of currently available technology, the iPad proved to be cost effective, and most applicable to meet the educational needs of our students," said Rick Brewer, district superintendent, in a prepared statement. (Avery Middle School is part of Vallecito Union School District in Avery, CA.) "Furthermore, the iPad Program is in sync with the objectives in the District's overall Technology and Strategic Plan."

The iPad program was "envisioned" back in April as a way to bolster classroom learning by integrating "cutting edge technology" into the curriculum, according to the district. It was rolled out to its present scale following a pilot program over the summer.

As part of the program, students will use the devices to access digital textbooks, foregoing traditional textbooks, and will also be able to access other learning materials online through the devices.

According to information released by the district, the entire program was a collaborative effort between Brewer and Christine Linder, Avery Middle School's principal; Michael Wells, director of technology for the district; and Gretchen McReynolds, chief business officer for the district.

"By providing new, innovative ways for students to access course information, the iPad directly contributes to an effective learning experience--being able to instantly access visual and text information incorporating instructional technology in a fun, exploratory way," Linder said in a statement released by the district.

"In addition, the iPad is a formidable platform and the applications greatly enhance the core content, while promoting active engaging learning that focuses on 21st century skills," said Wells. "The handheld device enables educators to deliver a customized, real-time curriculum and personalized instruction tailored to meet their students' needs."

Vallecito Union School District in Avery, CA serves students in two K-5 schools and one middle school with students in sixth through eighth grades--about 700 students total. Further details on Avery Middle School's iPad program can be found here.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

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