Last week the 1:1 iPad program I am part of was officially launched. Over the course of two days we handed out iPads to 400 7th graders. We spent two days distributing and setting up devices and also providing an extended help desk to students.
To say that students were excited about the prospect of receiving an iPad would be a gross understatement. 7th graders did their best not to release an joyous scream upon entering the classroom. It was refreshing to witness such a collective sense of genuine enthusiasm. I know full well that a single device is not a magical cure all. One of the reasons why iPads were handed out last week was to extend the amount of time administrators and teachers could reflect on the changing dynamic. Time was needed to exchange ideas about what it means to instruct in a 1:1 environment where equity in access and connectivity exists between teachers and students.
The level of excitement was an observation that resonated more than anything from the roll-out. I really did not have the chance to ask students why they were so excited. However, I believe there was a connection between two distinct worlds. The roll-out of iPads served as a bridge between the personal and academic arenas. I was in charge of leading several classes through the set-up process. I say in charge, but in many instances students were assisting one another and volunteering information about use of the device or specific apps. Students were eager to share their experience and knowledge with peers and adults.
Even though we are in the infancy of the 1:1 iPad program, the initial stage started to fuse two worlds together and fostered a genuine level of interest that we can hopefully continue to build on.