Community Blog: The EDge

The Paul school iPad project: a closer look

I had the chance to spend Friday touring Paul Elementary School, a small-town school on the cutting edge of technology in the classroom.

Since November, the K-5 school’s 500 students have been learning on individual iPads. It’s a pilot program funded, for now, by iSchool Campus of Park City, Utah.

But the school has only a one-year grant from iSchool — and a three-year lease for the equipment and a three-year agreement for the technical support and the professional development offered by iSchool.

Without nearly $250,000 from the state, or continued grant support from iSchool, the program could discontinue.

“We’ve been worried all year,” Paul Principal Colleen Johnson said. “(But) we believe there’s value in pilot schools.”

If you watched the Legislature closely this year, you know Paul was at the heart of some pointed debate about technology funding. Ultimately, the Legislature approved $3 million for pilot projects. Paul’s Minidoka County Joint School District will go after a share of the money — but it’s too early to know if Paul would be eligible for the funding. It will be up to state superintendent Tom Luna’s office to set criterial for the grants.

Follow these links to my stories about how iPads are working in Paul classrooms, and about how the grant program might play out.

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger at Idaho Education News (idahoednews.org). Kevin is a former Statesman editorial page editor, with 27 year's experience in Idaho journalism.

Posted in The EDge