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IT Budget Workshop Considers A Leap in Technology

School officials and residents gathered Monday evening to discuss the future of education.

The Island Trees School District officials feel an update to the school's technology is necessary to keep up with changing times.

The Board of Education hosted a budget workshop Monday evening where representatives from the middle school discussed implementing Apple iPads into the classroom.

Middle school principal Roger Bloom told the board of a visit he made to Mineola School District and North Shore School District to understand more about their experience using iPads in school. After learning how the more advanced technology has proven to strengthen literacy, reading comprehension and overall learning, Bloom felt the district should give it a shot.

"There's so many things it can do educationally for students," said Bloom. "Some of the programs are fascinating, like an application where you can cut and paste different texts to make your own textbook. They can be very beneficial."

"One of the schools is banking on a plan where software companies will eventually release textbooks and the cost savings down the line could pay for the iPads itself," Bloom added.

Though the benefits are evident, Bloom said it would be a long process of training and preparation before actually putting the products to use.

"There are thousands of applications out there and most of them are not suitable for education so there's a lot that needs to be done in sorting out which are good and which aren't," he told the board. "We'll need teachers to become proficient with them and also teach the students how to use them, so it will be a lot of work."

The board agreed that they are currently behind most when it comes to technology, but funding was still a major concern, and the idea of a pilot program for one or two 5th grade classrooms was the only way to start.

"We can only take baby steps in the beginning," said Patricia Mahon, Board of Education president.

"If this is successful, we don't want to not be able to afford it, but I can't take the crystal ball out and predict what the future state aid will be. That's why a pilot is a good step forward for us for now," added Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Murphy.

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