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iPads year 2: LA schools to launch teacher prep course

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The Los Angeles Unified school district is developing a digital course to help over 700 schools ease into its $1.3 billion technology program.

Schools just getting the tablets in the coming school year will select teachers, administrators and students to lead roll out. Staff will be required to complete the self-guided course in addition to in-person professional development before the computers are distributed.

Bernadette Lucas, director of the program, said they are listening to feedback from teachers who received the devices last year.

Last school year, 85 campuses were slated to go one-to-one, receiving an iPad for each student, with varying results. Some schools pleaded for more planning, administrators said. Four schools asked to be taken off the list of those receiving tablets last year.

“If we send these devices to these schools that don’t have that basic structure, it creates more problems than solutions," said Charles Ford, an administrator in district headquarters working on the iPad project.

Last school year, some iPads disappeared and students complained many more were locked up as a result. District wifi was unreliable, and poor connection interrupted instruction in some cases, according to interviews with students and teachers.

L.A. Unified will also continue with a plan to pilot other devices in secondary schools.

Last fall, board member Monica Ratliff pushed for a laptop pilot after many teachers and students argued those devices would be more versatile for high school students in particular. Administrators agreed.

On Tuesday, the school board is scheduled to approve a plan that would allow 27 pilot schools to chose from a list of laptops, including Chromebooks.

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