DALTON -- Craneville Elementary School is getting ready to tap into new education technology by using Apple iPad mini-tablets. The purchase is supported by the Craneville PTO and its multiple yearly fundraisers.
"After several years of successful fundraising we were fortunate enough to have extra funds available for a special purchase," said Maureen Andersen, the co-president of the Craneville PTO. School Principal Kathy Buckley had listed technology as a school need, Andersen said.
The PTO's donation of $16,750 was approved last month by the Central Berkshire Regional School Committee. Buckley said she has been working with the school district's technology coordinator to finalize Craneville's purchase order.
Buckley said the order will include a mobile cart with 20 iPad minis, an additional set of five to 10 mini tablets, and five iPads with Retina display to be used by teachers. It will also contain a MacBook Air laptop that will travel with the cart and can synchronize functions with the iPad minis.
Buckley said some special education teachers are already using iPad technology with their students. The device has proven a helpful tool for students who may be non-verbal or who have other cognitive learning disorders.
Craneville's music department also uses an iPad to teach musical composition. But with the exception of those items, Craneville has only a laptop cart and some digital projectors.
A group of Craneville teachers from the
As part of a separate district-wide technology initiative, Buckley said the district is also looking to furnish Craneville and other schools with additional iPad carts, though those purchases are still being drafted.
Although other brands of tablets are being developed and introduced within the education technology market, Apple still holds an edge, Buckley said.
"I think they're the easiest to use," Buckley said. "Apple products seem to be most trusted and lots and lots of schools use iPads, so we're going on that."
"We support this purchase as technology is such an effective way to support curricular goals within our schools," Andersen said. "The online world provides classrooms with such interesting, diverse, and current learning materials."
"It will just open up the doors for 458 students to be prepared for the future," Buckley said, adding that the iPad minis will particularly help youngsters who don't have the technology at home.
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Newest tablets at a glance
• By Apple
iPad with Retina display (9.5-inch screen)
iPad mini (7.9-inch screen)
Unique features: Offers 3D textbooks, more than 20,000 educational apps, built-in support for screen reading and closed-captioned content among other universal access features.
Cost: According to its website, Apple offers education bundle pricing. Retail price for the iPad with Retina display starts at $499, and the iPad mini starts at $329.
• By News Corp.'s Amplify project
Amplify tablet (10-inch screen)
Unique features: Offers Android platform (Jelly Bean OS), 4G LTE option, Amplify Lesson Playlist feature, Encyclopedia Britannica.
Cost: Starting price of $299, plus $99 per year subscription fee with two-year commitment.
• By Dell
Latitude 10 (10-inch screen)
Unique features: Offers a Windows 8 platform and apps, docks for mouse and traditional keyboard, SD card reader.
Cost: Current online listing starting at $499 per unit.
• By Google
Nexus 7 (7-inch screen)
Nexus 10 (10-inch screen)
Unique features: Android platform, Google Play Store apps,
Cost: Nexus 7 starts at $199. Nexus 10 starts at a retail price of $399.