About three weeks ago, a student in my study hall arrived with his brand new iPad. For me, part of the excitement was that he had saved up the money from his job so he could buy it himself. Since my school is personal electronica-free in the classroom, he asked if he could get it out and read his homework assignment. OF COURSE!!! So the next half hour was a wonder for all of us. Those 30 kids spent the entire study hall playing with Macbeth--highlighting, making notes, looking up words, and in general having a great time. There was a short hiatus for the artist in the class to draw (Macbeth?) for about 5 minutes. I cannot emphasize enough that we were looking at Macbeth for that half hour. Someone started reading aloud from the tablet. I got chills.
We have two computer labs with 60 computers, a library with another 30 computers, and at least 5 mobile classrooms with 15 laptops apiece at my school. We have a set of Flip cameras and iTouches, among other tools. I use them all with my classes. But nothing prepared me for the instant reaction to the iPad. Just as I grew to love the touch of paper and the smell of a book as a kid, I watched 30 children fall under the spell of the touchscreen, the color, the personality of that iPad--all while loving what they were reading. I do not want my school or my students (parochial school) to spend another dime on a textbook that they do not read. I want a tablet in the hands of every bright, open mind in my room. How long will it take?