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Mamaroneck Schools Consider iPads For Every Student

In the one-to-one initiative, every student would have an iPad for use at school and home.
In the one-to-one initiative, every student would have an iPad for use at school and home. Photo Credit: Flickr

MAMARONECK, N.Y. -- Mamaroneck schools are discussing how to work toward a one-to-one computing program in which every student is equipped with an iPad to use in the classroom and at home.

"I’ve proposed a one-to-one pilot initiative next year that would equip all eighth- and ninth-graders with an iPad," Superintendent Robert Shaps said in a message to parents. He said he plans to outline in more detail how the district would support teachers in setting the stage for this transformation in teaching and learning.

In the initial program, which was launched two years ago thanks to a grant from the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation, each student in two classes of eighth grade earth science -- 27 in each class -- has been using an iPad almost daily.

Mike Sammartano and Vassili Frantzis, the two earth science teachers, gave a presentation on the program at a recent Board of Education meeting. They outlined some of the main benefits: student engagement increases; 21st-century skills are taught; instruction is seamless in and out of classroom; fewer paper resources are used; and education is more personalized.

"The kids are so excited to come to school and use virtual solar systems, to watch keynote presentations, to consume data that is interactive and rich in multimedia, and to create their own content - some kids are creating a Lego Stop Animation movie using an app," Sammartano said.

The teachers said the change has been rewarding but difficult because they're reinventing the class work. It has involved a lot of struggle and trial-and-error, they said.

But a huge benefit of the technology is that it helps them get real-time data on whether students grasp the material, they said.

Most important, each student gets to go at his or her own pace, the teacher said.

"We want to talk about what we think is the future and the potential for turning this into a one-to-one computing program for all students," Sammartano said. "We have to prepare them for the college classroom that might be totally different from what we expect a college classroom to be."

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