Board Set to Vote on Digital Textbooks
Update 5/25: The proposal to issue students iPads in place of textbooks was passed by unanimous vote at the May 22 board meeting. The devices, which will come with protective cases included, are equipped with many safety and security features. For any additional questions about the iPads, visit Mansfield ISD’s iPad Q&A.
All high school students in Mansfield ISD could possibly receive iPads if the proposal passes on May 22. If passed, the iPads will arrive in early September and will be passed out the first three weeks of school.
“I think generally the feedback has been positive,” Associate Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Accountability Dr. J Vaszauskas said. “We have a great board, and they really care about kids. I think they’re generally on board but we’ll see.”
The iPads would allow students to have Internet access throughout the day and would keep teachers from having to compete for computer lab time. Students would receive their textbooks on the iPads which would allow them to have updated material.
“Everything that our students can do with an iPad is exciting to me,” Dr. Vaszauskas said. “[They provide] the opportunity for you to personalize your own learning. You’re going to find the way that you learn.”
The consequences of damaging or losing an iPad would be the same as if it were a textbook. The district will look into insurance options for students and parents to purchase. They will also have tracking devices and MISD etched on the back of them, so if a device is lost or stolen it can be found easily.
“What we hope will happen is that our students will understand what a gift it is and will take advantage of it,” Dr. Vaszauskas said.
The iPads will be funded with the money the district uses to buy textbooks, computers, and other technology. On the iPads some textbooks will cost $14.99 and others would be free.
“We think it’s going to make for better relationships between the teacher and students. We think it’s going to make a better learning environment, and we’re hopeful that it passes,” Dr. Vaszauskas said.
If the proposal passes, the school board will increase the number of wireless points in the buildings and place a filter that prohibits students from accessing unacceptable websites.
“At some point in time you have to trust your students to make the right decisions,” Dr. Vaszauskas said. “What I hope is that we are able to provide these devices for our students and they have a wonderful learning experience.”
Academic Associate Principal Mrs. Christine Englert does not think the iPads will be a distraction to the students. Mrs. Englert’s only concern with students getting iPads is the possibility of them getting stolen.
“I think it’s a great idea, but then the other side to that is are they going to take care of them and are we going to see huge expenses in getting them serviced,” Mrs. Englert said.
Junior Reed Stewart doesn’t like the idea of students getting iPads.
“I feel as if it is a bad idea because iPads are less durable than textbooks would be but I see the appeal,” Mr.Stewart said.