Reuters is reporting that, at an initial cost of S$135,000 (about US$100,000), a pilot program handing out iPads to 140 students and 10 teachers at Nanyang Girls High School, Tampines Secondary School, Nanhua Primary School and Dunman Secondary School in Singapore aims to replace textbooks and increase interactivity in the classroom.
Students can connect to the internet, download books and notes, share workbooks and access course materials all from their iPads. In talking to Reuters, 14-year-old student Chloe Chen said, "It's much more convenient. Teachers can just tell us to go a website, and we can immediately go and do our work."
While the iPad has been used to help feed the hungry and by doctors in surgery, the education world seems to be where it is destined to have the biggest impact. So far, we have seen examples of colleges in the US handing out iPads to students and of textbook publishers like Houghton Mifflin Harcourt testing a full year Algebra course app, so one can imagine just how many places tablet computers will show up once they become even more popular than they already are.
I have heard from two teacher friends that they would love to have an iPad in their classroom, saying that it would help them stay up-to-date and organized, but neither one of them said they would want the students to have them because it would just be a distraction. However, if for no other reason, iPads in the classroom would help them facilitate paperless courses for students, and that alone could save them a lot of headaches.