"The kids, it's such a different generation. They've been raised on technology. This is the language they speak," Jana Smith, a Maumee Valley Country Day School teacher, said Monday. "As educators, we have to meet them there if we want to keep them engaged."
That's why the private school in South Toledo is spending $156,000 this school year to buy 360 Apple iPads and expand its one-to-one technology program. About 480 students will be enrolled when school starts on Aug. 21.
Seventh and eighth graders already had their own iPads as part of a pilot program that began in 2011. Now all high schoolers will get their own, and classroom sets will be available for teachers in preschool through sixth grade to share.
The school did not raise tuition to pay for the iPads, said Melissa Kuhl, the school's director of marketing.
The students' $100 technology fee, which was already in place, will cover the iPads' insurance, ebooks, and downloadable applications, and other school dollars were spent on the iPads themselves, Mrs. Kuhl said.
For several years, Maumee Valley and other private schools have purchased iPads or laptops for their students. In public schools, as in Oregon and Perrysburg, officials have expressed longing for one-to-one technology and said they wanted to find a way to pay for it in the future.
Last school year at Maumee Valley, middle-school-aged children used their iPads to take notes, listen to pronunciations of Spanish vocabulary words, and make videos for homework assignments.
When the iPads come to Mrs. Smith's classroom, she said, she wants her students to learn more about places in the world through Google Earth and take notes digitally for their research projects.
"I'm really excited," said Mrs. Smith, a 15-year teacher at Maumee Valley. "I really believe you need to use technology to enhance a curriculum, but not just use technology for the sake of using technology."