Daniel Gonzalez sits in a corner table of his 5th grade classroom at San Antonio Elementary in San Jose. Most teachers would probably write his name on the chalk board for not having his textbook out. But in this class, textbooks have been replaced by iPads.
“The iPad is a great tool to have,” Daniel said Friday. “First, when I came here, I was one of the lowest students. But now I know how to read better and I’m one of the highest.”
San Antonio, part of the Alum Rock School District, is one of the poorest district s in the state. But board members decided to spend $475,000 from federal stimulus money to invest in technology and give their kids a leg up in Silicon Valley.
Now, all 4th and 5th graders have an iPad, and students in the lower grades get an iPod Touch. Students use the technology to solve math problems, improve their spelling and do research.
The idea has worked out so well, the school has received visitors from all over the world to see how they’re doing it at San Antonio.
On Friday, the principal and IT director at Cupertino’s Murdoch Portal Elementary, paid a visit. What makes the visit so special is that Cupertino is one of the highest achieving, high-income districts in Santa Clara County. And so, visiting East San Jose was a rare, and much-appreciated, event.
‘We heard great things so we wanted to come and see, because we are also implementing technology and wanted to get other ideas,” Principal Connie Rowe said.
Alum Rock Board President, Esau Herrera, said he was honored to give the Cupertino administrators a tour.
“Visiting here, in the Alum Rock school district, in the barrio, “ said Herrera, “To see what we’re doing with teaching and learning. Ordinarily we would go over there. Now they’re coming here.”
They saw Daniel have fun with the iPad, as he worked to make it to the very top of his class.