The Lewisville Independent School District (LISD) is rolling its 1:X program with the goal of arming each kid, right from kindergarteners to seniors with ipads. This was first year that all freshmen got the gadgets. In some pilot schools, 4th and 5th graders got an ipad and certain pilot middle schools handed them out to their 5th graders as well. All with the option of picking one of the two package- $ 40.00 annual charge that covers insurance against loss or damage or the $ 50.00 refundable at the end of the year option. What's the goal? The goal is to arm each and every student with an ipad in the next 3 years. Theirs to keep until they graduate and upgraded every 3 years. What's the intention behind the goal? To move away from the 1:1 laptop model, allowing students to 'access, create, share and collaborate as digital citizens' and' to encourage and support anywhere, anytime learning, according to its website. With this, the role of a teacher will evolve from being a 'teacher' to that of a 'facilitator'.

Now, as LISD rolls out its program, I've had numerous discussions, rather debate, (some really heated and passionate) about whether or not, this is the way to go. And since I'm all for it, I'll give you my five reasons for why I think this will work.

#1. It increases the level and the quality of baseline education
Growing up, if we did not pay attention in class, we had to rely on our textbooks for understanding the concept. Textbooks were the baseline. With kids being given ipads loaded with the recommended apps, bookmarked with the recommended links and resources, the baseline has been up-ed to a more interactive and easy to follow formats.

#2. Kids don't have a choice but to pay attention- at least it increases the chance of them doing so
Again, going back to our times, we practically had the choice of whether or not we paid attention to our teachers. And if we picked to not, we could always hope (and desperately pray) that we'll not get picked to answer any question- in other words, that we won't get 'caught' not listening. Use of gadgets in class practically eliminates the option of not listening for the students. For the way this works, each student has to instantly pick the right answer on their gadget and the answers picked by every student displays on the teacher's screen. The student is "caught"- not listening or actually, even better- not understanding (I say better because now that the teacher knows he missed, hopefully she'll make sure he gets it). So yes, I'm all for it.

#3. Reduces the teacher dependency.
We all remember how boring lectures often got. The responsibility for keeping the lectures interactive lied with the teacher. The only tools she had was a board and some chalks. Hence, how interesting and how interactive the lessons were depended entirely ( as in 100%) on how good the teacher was. And lets face it, the best subject matter expert might not have the best teaching skills and even then he/she might not have the skills to keep it interactive and interesting. With the gadget in hand approach and the more universal apps, links and pop quiz formats, the basic level of interesting and interactivity increases, hence reducing the teacher dependency. Now, mind you, the sky still is the limit to what level of interest and curiosity the teacher can arouse in her students and what level of interactivity he/she can bring in the class, but still, with a gadget in hand, the students of today are already more interested and interactive- yes, even the back benchers.

#4. 'Facilitating' frees up teachers' time
As teachers' role changes from being a teacher to that of a facilitator with students armed with a way to access the right information at their finger tips, it frees up the teachers' time to focus on two very important aspect of education-
a. In interacting with the students in the form of projects, quizzes, discussions, debates, etc.
b. In giving his/ her attention to those students who might need extra help. Remember, now she KNOWS who needs more.
Also, as all quizzes and tests are taken on the gadgets, teachers don't have to spend countless hours on grading them- another plus of arming the students with their own hand held-s.

#5. Lets' face it- internet is the medium of knowledge for today's kids and gadgets- their means of accessing it. We might as well make it their means of education.
That's that- the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Like it or not, today's kids will imbibe their knowledge from the net. If we're successful in making it a means of educating them, not only do we increase the chances of them being interested, and retaining things longer, but most importantly, we stay in touch with their times.

Our kids are the explorers of the world- on the internet! What better way of guiding them in their journey than to evolve the role of a teacher to that of a 'facilitator' and arming them with the "weapon" of their choice- a smart gadget? Yes, it’s time!!!