McALLEN — Education leaders and an Apple executive pitched the McAllen school district’s iPad initiative Tuesday as one way to protect students from state and federal mandates that could create inflexible curricula.
“The language is still very much adult (versus) kid, like testing,” said Marco Torres, a California teacher of the year who has helped integrate mobile devices into his Los Angeles high school.
“Those issues are adult issues,” he said. “They’re not kid issues, (and) we’re not talking about how to provide kids with the best learning opportunities to be individual.”
He joined McAllen schools Superintendent James Ponce, Abilene Christian University professor William Rankin and Apple Vice President of Education John Couch on a panel during a daylong conference at the McAllen Convention Center, 700 Convention Center Blvd.
Rankin and other ACU officials said they have witnessed a boom in learning and student engagement since implementing mobile devices at its private campus. And they have helped the McAllen school district develop its plan to purchase nearly 27,000 iPads and iPods for every student and teacher.
“When I went to school it was real simple,” Apple’s Couch said. “Here’s A. Here’s B. Here’s the linear process from A to B — memorize it, (then) test on it Friday.
“That does not work with this generation of students” who have “grown up with technology,” he added. “As a teacher, if all you’re doing is presenting readily available content — content that can be found on the Internet — (and) not putting that content in a relevant, challenging context, then what’s the value?”
Nearly 300 education and business leaders from across the region, state and nation participated in campus visits and various workshops, the majority of which argued new technology could transform the function and feel of modern-day classrooms.