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.
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