Newark public schools are using iPads and Google Glass to make classroom visits more comfortable, but the school buses that use the technology aren’t using them.
That’s because school buses aren’t equipped with the right tools, said Robert McDaniel, a transportation consultant who specializes in transportation and infrastructure issues.
“We’re seeing this trend of getting iPads and Glass to the bus because there’s a lot of other technologies that can help with that, but that is not really how we are going to do it,” McDaniel said.
This isn’t a new problem.
In 2013, Newark Public Schools launched a pilot program to equip its schools with mobile devices, but it hasn’t made the jump to the buses yet, McDaniel added.
Newark Public Schools has about 8,400 students, which means it can’t afford to get all the way to the next level of technology before its buses get too crowded, McDavis said.
The district also doesn’t have enough space for buses to go to school, so many of the school’s bus stops are already packed.
McDaniel said the school district needs to take the mobile devices and other tech to school more seriously and work with its schools partners to bring that technology to school.
A few Newark schools are already using iPads to take kids to and from school, but McDaniel warned that’s not enough.
The school district has had a lot more success in bringing technology to schools using traditional technology, like the computers and video games, McArthur said.
That’s because Newark Public School’s technology-driven school district uses the technology to help staff make more efficient use of space, which helps make the district’s schools more efficient, he said.
But McDaniel worries the technology isn’t helping Newark schools make better use of school resources, especially since the technology can help keep students safe while they’re away from school.
Teachers are worried about the technology not working well in a classroom setting.
Teachers in Newark are concerned that using iPads in class doesn’t make them feel safe, McAdams said.
Teacher Brian Burchard said he’s worried that using the iPads can be intimidating and that students are scared of using technology while in class.
“It doesn’t feel safe,” he said, adding that the students aren’t used to using their cell phones in class either.
If the technology works as hoped, he hopes the technology won’t stop Newark schools from having to use technology at all, he added.
The district is also working on making the technology more accessible for students in need.
There are also more technology-enabled programs that Newark schools use to get students ready for school, McDavid said.
Schools like the Newark School for Creative Writing and Newark School of the Arts are using technology to prepare students for school and help students learn better.
Teams from Newark schools also use iPads to help students work on math problems, but they also have to be careful with the technology, McArthson said.
“The iPad has a little bit of a head start, but we still need to keep the pace up with the pace of technology,” he added, pointing out that it’s not uncommon for iPads to lag behind when students are getting ready for tests.
The Newark school district also is experimenting with other technology in order to make its students more productive and help them learn better, McDevlin said.
It’s not yet clear if the technology will make its way into the buses, but Newark Public has used it at a bus stop before, McDavis said.
The technology will be rolled out to the Newark school bus fleet next year.