Proposed program would bring iPads to classrooms

Posted: 01/10/13 at 10:40 pm EST      Last Updated: 01/10/13 at 11:03 pm EST

WELLESLEY, Mass. (WHDH) -- A program in Wellesley could have more classrooms teaching with tablets.

The technology has been used on a small scale, but now more students may need tablet computers for class.

Reading, writing, and arithmetic all taught through iPad applications; that’s the vision for all Wellesley fifth graders if Superintendant David Lussier gets his way.

“Building their ability to use technology in their life beyond gaming, beyond social networking. It’s so important, but I think it’s going to make classrooms more exciting,” said David Lussier, Superintendant of Wellesley Schools.

This year, one Wellesley elementary school took part in a pilot program that puts iPads in the hands of every fifth grader. Many parents loved it.

“It’s been wonderful. And the confidence level for him and the responsibility level for him has been amazing,” said Cecelia Brooks.

That’s why the district wants to expand the program to all Wellesley fifth graders, and allow the students to bring the iPads home.

Parents would have to lease to own through the schools or own iPads for students beginning next February. Help would be offered to low-income students. But for some, cost is not the concern.

“I also see what he’s picking up that’s not educational from the device. And what his friends are and the sharing they’re doing and I’d like to curtail some of that,” said Amy Fuller Boyd.

“Most of our kids already have access to the Internet and so we want to make sure they know how to use that responsibly,” Lussier said.

The superintendant will gauge parent reaction at meetings such as the one held Thursday night. And the school board will vote on funding for the program by the end of the month -- turning a tech toy into a classroom tool.

The cost of the iPad would be $40 per year if a person provides their own iPad, and $155 per year if leased from the school. Parents would have the decision to opt out if they didn't want the iPads used at home.

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