Students and teachers in Burlington are now almost two months into our most ambitious iPad rollout thus far- we have just under 3000 iPads deployed in our district at grades 1, and 4-12. This marks the third year of 1:1 iPad programs in Burlington, and we’re happy to see the integration and enthusiasm grow every year. Nothing trumps the excitement on a 3rd grader’s face as she is handed her first iPad. I am lucky enough to have the privilege to come back to her school and see some of the amazing projects and digital work she created. It is this excitement and engagement of students that fuels our EdTech Team.
While the iPads no doubt excite students and teachers, the devices also represent a symbolic change: our ever present push towards project-based learning. The iPad becomes the tool that facilitates our capable students creating excellent projects. Such work was impossible before- there were never enough digital resources and teachers struggled to find access to the resources we did have. Finding the time, foreseeing a need, planning months in advance: these were obstacles that hobbled our teachers from exploiting the full measure of their creativity.
Now, with the digital environments we are creating, not only do students have a more robust outlet for their creativity, but teachers can explore creative options at any time. There is no barrier between the educator and student to hinder learning and creativity.
Looking back to the summer, I cringe. Standing, hunched over carts of iPads in stifling heat, I wondered if all the effort to create a robust infrastructure, to choose apps, to lug heavy cases of gear from school to school was worth it- but all of my doubt was erased the moment I saw the face of an elementary student take their device.
This is a little glimpse of what it is to get iPads ready for deployment Burlington. And it’s worth every moment.