With the new school year just starting, and under way for other students, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and new paper fills the air.  Well for most schools this is the case, but students in four schools districts in California are instead smelling the scent of glass and aluminum.  That’s right. These four lucky school districts are receiving iPads for their Algebra 1 classes.  Gone are those freshly sharpened pencils and notebooks of paper.

Fresnobee.com is reporting that Kings Canyon and Sequoia Middle school in the Fresno school district, along with schools in Long Beach, San Francisco, and Riverside school districts, will be receiving the iPad in lieu of traditional textbooks.  The purpose behind this is to see if the iPad can improve test scores where traditional teaching methods have failed.  An Algebra 1 app produced by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will be on the iPad and used as a teaching tool.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is also subsidizing the full cost of the iPad and the app.  This makes the barrier of entry non-existent for these schools who would have gone with the netbook route, or in some cases would have stuck with traditional textbooks.

I’m glad to see this type of technology make inroads into the schools.  I’m reminded of when Apple IIe’s and Apple IIc’s were first introduced in schools as an educational tool.  They introduced a whole new way to learn.  Back then computers were less interactive than today, but it gave us the tools we needed to learn at the time.  Just like the iPad’s Algebra app will do.  The Algebra app is “designed so students can use it for homework, note-taking, quizzes and possibly testing. The app includes tutorial videos that can help students at home and automatically lets teachers know how students are progressing.”

This is only the beginning. If these pilot schools do well, other schools will follow suit.  In addition the iPad makes for a better interactive experience than, say, a netbook would.  What are your thoughts on this?  Do you think technologies like this will improve test scores?  You can let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Photo Credit: a week with an iPad

Article Via fresnobee.com

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