DANBURY, Conn. (AP) — Starting this fall, 400 Immaculate High School students and their teachers are expected to have their own iPads.
The private Catholic high school, with students from 23 towns, plans to provide iPads to the staff.
Students who don't already have them will obtain them in a group buy with the school, with financial aid, if needed.
"I think it's really exciting," Immaculate High sophomore Michael Fredette, 15, said Tuesday. "We're joining the new wave of technology. It's cool that we are taking the initiative to advance our school."
Immaculate is not alone moving with this technology.
Brookfield High School gave iPads to its freshmen last fall and will continue until all students have them.
St. Gregory the Great Elementary School in Danbury ran a pilot program for the Diocese of Bridgeport in which eighth-graders bought iPads. Plans call for the program to expand to 6th- and 7th-graders next year.
Immaculate Principal Joseph Carmen said Tuesday he looked at laptop and desktop computers before being sold on the iPad.
"There is a paradigm shift in the environment that kids will face," Carmen said Tuesday. "It's very different than in the past."
He wanted iPads for everyone at once, rather than grade by grade, and said he was glad his faculty came onboard right away.
"I wanted everyone jumping across the divide at the same time so everyone is on the same side of the river," Carmen said. "This is not memorization of facts. There is a going to be an overflow of information and we have to teach students how to analyze the information."
Immaculate students spend up to $600 a year on textbooks, so Carmen said the approximate $450 cost of the iPad and service contract will be recovered once the $14 digital textbooks replace the $80 print textbooks.
"It's great. Technology is the future," 17-year-old junior Jena Mazzucca said Tuesday. "My brother goes to Bentley, and on their campus the technology stands out. This is a great way to prepare us for college."
Textbooks are interactive, have artwork that can be magnified and videos that explain concepts, plus, Mazzucca said, she can make notes and text and look up words, she said.
Immaculate President Kathleen Casey said the school received approval for the initiative from the diocese, the school advisory board and parents.
She said to support the wireless infrastructure needed for the iPads, Immaculate has begun an upgrade that will cost about $50,000.
This is another step in the global strategy of the school that has 17 international students, a student studying abroad and 11 students taking online classes, Casey said.
Immaculate's new part-time tech coordinator, Dave Cirella, will help teachers integrate technology into their curriculum, and the school will have an internal Web management system to protect students.
"We have to teach them to assess information and draw their own conclusions," Casey said.
Carmen and Casey praised Brookfield for its help on the initiative.
Brookfield Finance Director Art Colley said he told Immaculate to make sure the school had an adequate wireless infrastructure and that teachers had iPads ahead of students.
"We are keeping the focus on the instruction, providing students with the skills they need like problem-solving and collaboration," Brookfield Superintendent Anthony Bivona said. "I'm firmly convinced this is the way of the future, that students need to utilize these tools to access reliable information and defend the information. This extends the learning beyond school walls."
Information from: The News-Times
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