The following comes from a June 17 story in the San Bernadino diocese paper, the Inland Catholic Byte.
Instead of textbooks, each student at Aquinas High School will receive an iPad to use for the 2013-2014 school year and for future school years. This bold move is not only placing Aquinas at the forefront of academic technology, it is saving parents hundreds of dollars in the cost of textbooks.
Beyond the usual high costs of purchasing textbooks, this fall the cost would have greatly increased, as new Common Core Standards of curriculum are being adopted across the country, forcing many publishers to revise textbooks. There will now be an annual technology fee that is half or less than what most parents are spending in the purchase of textbooks.
The administration and faculty of Aquinas have been in training for the iPad use for over a year, and have utilized four pilot courses to help them understand how this transformation will be successful at Aquinas.
“Our teachers can now teach a curriculum and not a textbook,” said Dr. Jim Brennan, President of Aquinas. “Classroom time should not be reading a textbook.”
Brennan and Aquinas Principal Chris Barrows visited Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego, where iPad technology has been fully incorporated for two years. They were able to see the interaction between student and teacher and iPad, in the classrooms.
Aquinas history teacher Jonathan Keck is the faculty’s in-house iPad expert and has been able to facilitate numerous workshops for his fellow staff members. Having his knowledge on the iPad’s usage and applications at the faculty’s finger tips is invaluable to the school, according to Brennan.
“He has been able to teach our staff the Drop Box feature where students type their assignments and put them in the on-line drop box app, which is time stamped, and the students can’t get away with being late,” said Brennan.
Internet management systems have been implemented, which do not allow students to go to undesirable websites when using the school-issued iPads. The infrastructure on campus was completely upgraded through a grant and donations from Enkosystems. And Aquinas will utilize AppeCare as a reasonable safeguard for typical accidents, where the iPad can be replaced up to two times for just $50. The final implementation of the iPad includes parent participation in set up and acceptance of policies.
To read entire story, click here.
As a teacher appalled at the size and cost of textbooks, I applaud this cautiously, although I think there will be a long shakedown period. Security will be a bigger issue than they seem to imagine, but with determined effort will likely work out.
As a university student c. 1971, I was offered a job selling text books to professors at the U of Calif, which I did not take up. Even then in the dim light of my nascent attempts to gain education, I somehow realized the irony of a free market industry selling socialism … or would the word, “chagrin” be better here than irony?
This is terrific!
I feel for our parents who have to pay so much for textbooks, which then get changed so soon.
These students are blessed to be part of a school that can afford to give them up to date technology for their learning — some of our parishioners even have the Breviary, spiritual reading, the Mass readings, a preparation for Confession, etc., on their iPhones and such, which makes it possible for them to have a whole LIBRARY at their fingertips when they come alone to church to pray.
Common Core looks to be a big mistake and, just a brief survey of the Internet (including Catholic sites) will show you how reticent schools (and particularly Catholic ones) should be.
BTW, does anyone care that I-Pads are made by Apple who has already voiced their support for SSM ? Seems like the bishops have dropped the ball again (anyone for Starbucks, oops, them, too!).
“bishops have dropped the ball”: oxymoron??
It is about time, don’t you think? Why haven’t all the Catholic high schools done this already? We are competing with a world that is very much ahead of us when it comes to educational outcomes. Now these students will have nearly all the information in the world at their finger tips all the time. Of course, most of them already had it on their phones, didn’t they!
No, Bob One, it is not “about time”; it is about truth and charity both of “which” are Jesus. You need to throw out your bureaucratic “Jesus” and follow the real Jesus.
For all IMPORTANT books, the printed (paper) forms are needed, and can also be kept for future reference.
It is very easy for mischief (changing wording) when using ONLY the net as a source.
(Example: I have noticed that some things regarding Obama’s actions have been removed from the net to make him look better. This changes history.)
Based upon a few of their other posts, Matthew and Bob One have no love of accuracy. Having internet availability is important and good for searching out info – which all the schools have had for several years. Using ONLY the internet is a huge mistake.
Sylvia, you are being a jerk in accusing me of not caring about accuracy.
If a textbook is purchased more cheaply as an eBook, it’s the same as having it on paper.
This is different than merely “using the internet” as you suggest.
Based on your post, I’d say you have no love of accuracy when it comes to technology, and no level of learning that would enable you to speak in an informed way.
Electronic books can be hacked – and therefore changed.
They can be changed for good or for bad, though. So, the upshot is that not only bishops are called to holiness but Catholic hackers as well.
I don’t know about Matthew, but Bob One loves committees and bureaucracies for their own sake, which has nothing to do with accuracy or education. Matthew, however, might go in for a check up to see if has the “cyclops syndrome”.
I-pads will not save $$$$.
They are more expensive than books, and will constantly need to be changed as technology improves.
Are parents going to be asked to pay the approx. $500 and up for an I-Pad for each of their children?
Although info on the net is a great boon to knowledge, it also contains misinformation. Any good hacker can change almost anything.
And now that the US government has been proven to be involved in spying on ALL Americans – phone, internet, facebook, yahoo, google, etc – and archiving this information – who knows what they will do next for “social engineering”.
It’s easy for them to “change” stored information.
Technology has up sides and down sides.
Someone must have stock in Apple.
Its easy to purge (delete), and change, and add – info on the net.
The US Government can do it; those who are schooled in software can do it;
and good hackers (usually ages 11 through 40) can do it.
(If you have documents that are really important to you, download it into your computer. Links are not enough.)
Text book fees may be expensive money-wise, but the acceptance and promulgation of government directed Common core (global and universal) teaching (actually training), as indicated by the exclusive use of the IPad, will be an even more expensive cost to the quality and intent of what we know as academic education.
Teachers should become aware that their authority in the classroom will be lessened and replaced by a computer voice which may have originated across the world, and the teacher will beocme little more than a technical facilitator.
A couple of years ago, a person was brought in to a Catholic school who supposedly knew all about Common Core and this person said that students didn’t have to memorize multiplication tables nor many of the prayers anymore because everything is available on the Internet. (Now there is no more school, but this “expert” remains employed by the diocese – shades of things to come?)
Common core seems to demand use of technology (knowing that the Gates Foundation is behind this, it isn’t a surprise), which will bring about students who will, generally, gain little depth of knowledge across the board (after all, all one has to do is bring up the Internet). Is this the kind of student and, eventually, employee a company really wants (one where, without an internet connection, can’t multiply or understand what has to be done)?
The incidents of plagiarism have greatly increased in schools, causing more time and expense to be wasted and in adopting protective measures to inhibit where students visit on-line. One would have thought this wouldn’t be a problem in a Catholic school, but it is a major headache and will only get worse.
Parents might be the prime educators of their children, the advertising material from the dioceses often say, but how many parents were asked instead of having it presented as a fait accompli?
Parents might be the prime educators of their children, the advertising material from the dioceses often say, but how many parents were asked instead of having it presented as a fait accompli?” Very good point, indeed!
God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
Kenneth M. Fisher
Bob, good opening salvo. But it gets worse, when one realizes that the various and sundry Gates type foundations are bent on central control of education … as the Beatles prophesied in song, “we all live in a yellow submarine”. What are the bishops doing about this? Oh, never mind, it makes no difference until they become holy.
Excellent, Camille!!! I’ve tried to put this in words and have only made this concept wordy, but you’ve nailed it.
This will not save money. Beside the cost of the ipad, the school has to buy a license and renew it EACH YEAR for each book in use. Whereas printed books are good for however long they hold up, an ipad textbook is obsolete after a year. The textbook companies have figured out a way to make money year after year instead of on one-time purchases. In addition to this, there are are expensive repair costs. We all know how careful teenagers are with their possessions, right? The school will have to hire tech support as full-time staff as well. But once everyone is hooked and books gone from schools, there won’t be any choice except to shell out the money. We’ll start seeing car washes and bake sales for tech support.
MamaK, you stole my thunder! You are so right. Besides, while the cost might be “nominal” now, and considered a great savings over texts, eventually those costs will creep up to as much or more than textbooks were. They are just hooking people into the iPad now, to gouge them later. Children should not be computer illiterate, nor should they be book illiterate.
Another thought that just crossed through my wandering mind… what about handwriting, is it taught any more? I heard cursive is no longer taught in many public schools. What about Catholic schools? You know what? In my old age (heck, I guess I’m there now, but I mean maybe toward the end), I won’t need to write shorthand to keep something secret. I can see a day where I write in a journal – anything I want – and those around me will be totally unable to read it!! Have I gone too far over the edge?
The key is not technology, but teachers, administrators, and bishops. Technology is the communications medium, and the teachers and administrators help advance students on this level; however, the bishops are the inspirations for the content. Non-holy bishops produce content that leads to money; holy bishops produce content that leads to Heaven. Take your choice.
George Orwell’s “1984” was written in 1948, before people had home TV sets, or computers where you could see and talk to each other, or mobile cell phones or other wireless technology. Of course “1984” was a work of fiction.
But we are getting much closer to the “Big Brother” that controls information and therefore controls our principles and our freedom, (doublethink, thoughtcrime, newspeak.) TRUTH means nothing, and merely is what someone else wants you to believe.
Even this Country’s founding fathers understood that he who controls information, controls the population. Hence – “freedom of the press”.
Speaking of “1984” another thought occurred to me. China has a one-child policy that is enforced by the government. The US has basically achieved the same outcome – low fertility – not by tyrannical means, but by making it easy not to have children and increasingly more difficult to support children in the modern economy. I think a similar case could be made with books. In “1984” books were burned or banned to control thinking. But what happens when a society makes it easy not to have books or has a majority of its educational material in a form that is easily manipulated? It seems to me you might have the same outcome as “1984” without the drama. In Huxley’s Brave New World the controlling powers realize it is easier to condition people than force them into new ways of thinking. Soft tyranny.
MamaK: I think we’re going off the deep end here. School textbooks are not. classic literature. You say the content of on-line texts could be “easily manipulated”. Why not WRITE OUR OWN? The web and on-line publishing make that easy. Home-schoolers post lesson plans to the web by the ROM-full. There are enough Catholic professionals out there to do it, and then we wouldn’t need the big companies.
MamaK, you’re argument hinges on an assumption that is sadly prevalent in much Catholic education, which is rote memory of what is presented, without any initiative to seek out the truth or even the facts. The bedrock of your poor argument is that education consists of believing what the school tells you to believe. And thus you rail against the materials. Rather you should concern yourself with evaluating the materials and seeking out other materials. To most people it likely does not matter, but in every population, no matter how poorly the educational history, there are those souls who would prosper greatly by excellent teachers instead of by tyrannical types who insist that the students hang on every word they utter. I had to endure a half semester high school civics class taught by a popular teacher who insisted we all believed his stupid and errant concept of the graduated tax system of the day. When I refused, then he ordered all those who agreed with him to stand; I kept my seat. For one thing I could see how dumb he was (he later became an administrator), and also that I was the only advanced placement (the current term for fast track students) kid in the class. Those kids, the majority by far, do not want to look into things, all they want is what they are fed regardless of who is feeding them. So, MamaK, you pays your money and you takes your choice, between education and indoctrination.
I have a Bible on my Kindle to carry and read at my leisure. But I would never be without my book paper copy.
Incredible that after centuries of developing education, they still are confused, eg textbook vs curriculum … unless, the implication by Jim Brennan, principal of Aquinas High School, is that textbook content is skewed by the publishers who rely on the financial controllers who demand the inclusion of ideologies. In other words, Brennan may be supposing that the use of iPad over textbook will provide curriculum flexibility and independence from ideologies. But doesn’t this in turn rely upon the religious input ruled by the local bishops? So, when it boils down, what is the difference when the bishop is not a holy man? Answer: nada. So, the secondary point made by Brennan is saving the parents hundreds of dollars. Hence, the bottom line in Catholic education seems to remain money.