BRENTWOOD -- The use of 100 iPads in some Brentwood Union School District classrooms this year has been so successful, school officials are looking at ways to expand the pilot program.
Using iPads in seven classrooms has increased both academic achievement and student motivation, according to district officials.
The district is now looking to expand its pilot mobile learning devices project for the next academic year with possibly a few hundred more devices. In evaluating this year's pilot, school district Director of Curriculum and Instruction Michael Bowen said officials found that the iPads increased student collaboration, problem-solving, research, publishing finished work and other life skills.
"Technology is an ever-increasing aspect of life in the 21st century. When utilized correctly, technology is found to both support and motivate student learning," he said. "We know that it is where the future is, and we want to be a part of that."
The technology program is operating across grade levels at Krey, Garin, Pioneer and Brentwood elementary schools and Edna Hill and Adams middle schools. Teachers involved in the program would like to see priority given in the expansion to teachers at similar grade levels to support collaboration among classrooms, according to Bowen.
"It is amazing what they are able to do in seconds," said Brentwood school board member Heather Partida of the technology. "They are definite, usable skills."
Through the pilot, Bowen said that the district's goals have been how to measure the impact of technology on student achievement, what makes a mobile application or app effective, when to utilize technology over traditional teaching methods, and what supports are needed to implement the program on a larger scale.
"They want us to think about other mobile learning devices," he said of suggestions from pilot teachers, including iPad minis for the lower grades.
An approved app list will be created, along with the ability to purchase other apps, Bowen noted. He added that many pilot teachers are taking advantage of free apps.
Overall, Bowen said, officials have discovered that technology doesn't replace traditional instruction, but it does provide more teachable moments in class.
"It is the kind of thing the community wants to see," said school board Trustee Emil Geddes. "We have already established that we have something real."
Contact Paula King at 925-779-7174.