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Volume 30, Number 2
March/April 2014

Five Smart Ways to Deploy Tablets


Fourth-graders in McAllen, Texas use iPads to compose music. Photo by Andrea Hathcock.

Two and a half years ago, the Roslyn (NY) Public School district was one of the first districts in the nation to launch a “one-to-one” computer tablet initiative in which each student was issued his or her own device. Beginning with 75 ninth graders in 2011–2012, all 1,100 high school students in Roslyn have had their own iPads since September 2013.

The overarching goal was to increase students’ and teachers’ productivity and efficiency. “What we were looking for was portability, communication, and transfer of written material back and forth in a pretty seamless and easy way,” says Roslyn Superintendent Daniel Brenner. “Our vision of tablets is as a utility tool.”

By all accounts, the initiative has been a big success: Roslyn teachers now regularly assign and collect homework via tablet, create materials on the devices, and use them for in-class instruction. Students read and respond to assignments, create presentations, and analyze data. School-related uses of the devices remain high, according to Brenner, who credits the initiative with improving student organization, homework completion, and volume of writing.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.