Winnipeg School Division Set to Give Out 3,200 iPad Minis to Students

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Back in May we covered how a new pilot program at the St. James Assiniboia School Division in Winnipeg was set to hand out iPads to 1,000 students. The program starts next week, where 1,800 middle school students will get a free iPad mini for the school year, while another 1,400 will be shared among elementary school students.

Administrators say the tablets won’t replace pen and pad but rather compliment learning as a new tool in the classroom, according to the CBC:

“It’s a very connected generation that we have, and this motivates them and it engages them in a different way than a textbook does,” Ron Weston, the division’s chief superintendent, told CBC News on Thursday.

“We can also connect with other people across Skype, or we can connect through a website, and it just really does bring the world right into the classroom,” he added.

Despite the innovative pilot program, some parents back in May questioned the effects of children being distracted by the devices instead of learning. Tanis Pshebniski, St. James-Assiniboia’s assistant superintendent of program and curriculum, assures teachers will be sure to let students know about proper iPad use in the classroom.

Ron Weston, the division’s chief superintendent says the onus is on parents as well to be involved:

“You are the parent and you have control over that, so make sure that you encourage your child to be involved in lots of activities, not just the single-minded activity of technology,”

If the school district purchased 3,200 iPad minis at $329 each (16GB retail pricing), that equates to roughly $1.05 million for the pilot project. These iPads were leased however.

From our How to use the iPad in Teaching parts 1 and 2, it’s clear some teachers are already taking advantage of the device. Being able to engage students is one of the best ways to teach a lesson or get your point heard. These iPads should be an instant hit to get students interested all the time.

What do you think of the iPad in the classroom?