iPads Make Classroom Debut at Upper East Side Schools
By Gabriela Resto-Montero
UPPER EAST SIDE — Pens and notebooks are, like, so last year as iPads make their debut in Upper East Side classrooms.
Marymount School on Fifth Avenue and East 84th Street, for example, will provide 150 iPads to its kindergarten through 12th grade students to let them experiment with Apple's hot new tablet computer as they work the device into the curriculum.
"We really feel that long-term this is the future of education and technology," said Eric Walters, the school's director of science and technology. The devices will be used by 25 teachers in subjects ranging from art to math as the school's iPad program rolls out this year.
Marymount's high school students will be able to check out iPads for work during the school day. First-graders will receive iPad training once a week during a technology class in addition to using them in other classes.
"Technology is such a huge part of our school," said junior Aliza Molgora, 16, who added that the school also uses other high-tech tools such as smartboards, which are like interactive blackboards. "It's definitely going to be so much more integrated."
The iPads, which start at $499, could be very useful in science and language classes, said sophomore Lily Yarborough, 15.
"It helps us focus," Yarborough said.
By next year, the school hopes to have a one-to-one student to iPad ratio and condense required textbooks onto the devices, Walters said.
Reducing the cost of textbooks through portable media devices also inspired the Loyola School at 980 Park Avenue to launch its own e-reader program this year.
Loyola will have Sony e-readers, which start at around $170, available through the school library for students to use this year as part of a pilot program, said James Richroath, director of technology at the school.
"If it does take off, we want to pass on the cost savings to students," Richroath said.
The Sony readers are just to test students' interest in digital media devices, Richroath said. Within the next year, staff will begin training on the iPad with an eye to using it in class.
The main appeal of iPads in the classroom are the apps that allow students to do everything from sketch 3D graphs to identify star systems, Richroath said.
"Really, it's the benefit of using something that's interactive," he said.
For students, the wireless devices, which also have note-taking and calendar functions, combine the tools for school with the novelty of a tech toy.
"It's a thing you can use to learn," said Sofia Del Rio, 15, a Marymount sophomore, "but also for fun."