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TMCNet:  Tablets next phase for high schools

[January 07, 2013]

Tablets next phase for high schools

Jan 07, 2013 (Messenger-Inquirer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Classes at Apollo and Daviess County high schools will serve in a pilot program this semester, trading laptops for approximately 120 new Apple, Lenovo or Dell tablet devices.

Sponsored by the district, the $34,000 trial program will last through the end of March when students, teachers and administrators will evaluate tablet performance, discuss the advantages and disadvantages of their use compared to the current laptops and make recommendations about possible future expansion of tablet devices in Daviess County high schools.

Anthony Sparks, DCPS director of instructional technology, said costs cover the devices, protective cases and covers, Microsoft Office licenses and some educational apps. Dell and Lenovo have programs that allow for evaluation, while Apple did not. Hewlett Packard, he said, was unable to meet the district's timeline.

Daviess County Public Schools were the first in Kentucky to introduce a 1:1 laptop program for high school students.

"From the results of the evaluation, a recommendation will be made to the superintendent and eventually, the Board of Education for approval," Sparks said. "If laptops are determined to still be the optimum choice for us, we will move forward and provide the best devices possible. In addition, we plan to extend the (Bring Your Own Device) option to include juniors and seniors at both high schools next year." Principals Charles Broughton of Apollo and Matt Mason of Daviess County selected two teachers each, who then selected one class each.

The schools will pilot two different tablet devices. Although only two teacher's classes will be targeted at each school, he said, impact in other academic courses will be assessed carefully due to the students use of the devices throughout their regular school day.

At Apollo, David Welp's class will use the Apple iPad Mini. Students should receive the machines in first block Tuesday. At DCHS, Robin Hedden's class will use the newest model of Apple's full-size iPads, scheduled for distribution around 8 a.m. Monday.

Daviess County's Jessica Grimsley-Mounts will monitor the Dell Latitude 10 while Cam Matthews' class at Apollo uses the Lenovo ThinkPad 2, both running Windows 8. The PCs will be distributed, Sparks said, in the next week or two as they arrive.

Megan Harris, 691-7302, ___ (c)2013 the Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, Ky.) Visit the Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, Ky.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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