Jamestown Elementary, part of Arlington Public Schools, is the latest school to provide one-to-one iPad access for its students.
"Kids are not only able to access material but use a number of tools to construct learning in a completely different way from what they've seen before," said Camilla Gagliolo, the instructional technology coordinator for Arlington Public Schools.
Students in more than 2,000 school districts across the country are now using electronic devices to aid their education following a radical shift in the way schools view modern mobile technology in the classroom. As programs pushing iPads in the classroom have led the technological revolution in education the role of teachers
"Teachers are having to rethink their classroom," said Becky Keith, a technology integration specialist at Woodford County Public Schools in Kentucky. "The teachers who are embracing it are having great success."
The rise of technology in the classroom is interesting in that it changes the traditional teacher-pupil dynamic. Now the student has the tools available to record the lecture and review complicated parts in his own time, doing the type of independent thinking that leads to a better knowledge of the subject matter concerned and theoretically allowing the teacher to cover more ground in limited classroom time.
"In the past, the teacher was the owner of the knowledge," said Richard Jean, the principal of Archbishop McCarthy High School, a Roman Catholic school in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "A year ago, if a child wanted to tape a lecture, he couldn't."
For the schools which have managed their budgets well and can provide iPads for their students this revolution is an exciting opportunity. As more and more schools get on board and the take-up of iPads in the classroom increases, more educational apps and tools will be developed, possibly even by students themselves as part of a drive to increase children's IT and programming skills.
Of course, not all schools have the available money to provide iPads for their students and at this point sacrificing teachers for iPads would likely be considered a dubious choice. However, eventually all schools will be able to use future textbook budgets to provide digital tools for their students and join in the education revolution.
A traditional textbook may cost $75, and a district would have to keep it for five to seven years, and the material quickly becomes dated. Now schools can download digital textbooks for as little as $15 a student and do so more frequently, keeping the information current.
"It is very early with the digital textbooks, but I do believe over the long haul we will save some money over the printed text,"