There are many articles written when it comes to new technology. Teachers, principals, and superintendents dedicated to create a more fulfilling learning experience. It is their passion and knowledge that allows us to apply incredible new technological advances in today’s classrooms.

“A Small District’s Big Innovator” talks about Superintendent Brad Saron, whose obsession with technology has spread to his school district. “As a principal and superintendent, he introduces iPod Touches, iPads, wireless Internet, document cameras, SMART Boards and laptops into classrooms at Cashton Public Schools” (Butler, 78), he is an innovator not only in technological trends, but in bringing fresh ideas towards a better and healthier community.

In 2007, Saron brought laptops into his school, improving students’ achievement and scores. In 2009 he equipped the school with SMART boards, which made learning more experimental, but at the same time more fun. And in the last two years he has purchased “about 80 iPod Touches and 10 iPads” (Butler, 80) with educational apps. Saron believes that having the technology will help the teachers and students, but he also believes they need training and workshops, which he makes sure, are always available and ongoing.

Teachers in Saron’s school district use SMART Boards not only to solve math problems but to record each step, and iPod’s to create voice files that students can then follow as they read the text. They also have access to NetVibes, which is a Web publishing platform, the “use it to write blogs, post classroom assignments and newsletters, share news feeds and post warm-up exercises” (Butler, 80). These kinds of innovation and passion to find new and exciting solutions for the classroom are what make technology a tool for learning.

Schools have different trends and methods. The Montessori Education has always been on the cutting edge of new developments. Maria Montessori states “My vision of the future is no longer of people taking exams and proceeding on that certification from the secondary school to the university, but of individuals passing from one stage of independence to a higher, by means of their own activity, through their own effort of will, which constitutes the inner evolution of the individual” (McHugh, 8). With such clarity of ideas, she has been able to revolutionize teaching, and add new technologies into the classroom as they develop.

The iPad creates an intuitive connection between content and its’ user, forcing the user to think critically and creatively, however, the Montessori education is based on reality, a hands-on education, where students learn as they do, so the iPad, a virtual tool is a representation of this reality and not reality itself. Montessori believes that technology such as the iPad must be used “to supplement a child’s education” (McHugh, 8) and not to replace it.

Everyone approaches technology in different ways, for some is overwhelming, for other exciting, for Amy S. C. Leh, Barbara Kouba and Dirk Davis, it involves “five types of interactions: (a) learner-content, (b) learner-teacher, (c) learner-learner, (d) learner-interface and (e) learner-community” (Leh, 237). However, within this article, they focus on “community Learning” more specifically, since it involves groups of people with common interests. They use the word “ubiquitous computing” to express the ever-present technology and its’ changes within the world.

The Internet is a great example of “community learning” since it allows people from all around the world to interact and share ideas, these has opened the doors for a great exchange of minds that could not have met in any other context.

For the authors, a “hand-held device is an example of…” (Leh, 243) “…21st century learning and ubiquitous computing” (Leh, 242), and a very effecting learning tool. They are less expensive than laptop computers, easy to carry and store, and have many free educational software possibilities, easy transfer of information, creative ways to do thinking-maps, write, read, etc. The article shows how hand-held devices can be implemented in the school, the technical difficulties of explaining the software and it’s uses, the kinks of charging it and linking it to the computers, and the advantages for a teacher whose emphasis was “providing affordable student reading material”, “useful, task-specific applications”, and a “paperless classroom” (Leh, 245).

The experiment was successful for the teacher; students where involved and excited, regardless of their technological knowledge, those more advanced where able to guide the others, preventing boredom and giving them a leadership role, encouraging interaction among peers. However, there wasn’t enough scientific data to show that hand-held devices will improve student development, as teachers we must all judge what works best for us, hopefully having a principal and superintendent as Mr. Saron that believes and encourages technology.

Extricom is a company that designs and manufactures the Wireless LAN system, which provides coverage for data, voice, and video services. So for them, researching new technology is a must, since their Wireless LAN will be supporting new hand-held devices such as the Kindle and the iPad. Extricom’s concern with education keeps them in the cutting-edge of technology, in 2010; they came out with a technology brief about “The iPad, Wireless LAN, and Education. Making Sure Your Environment Is ‘Tablet-Ready’”, in which they review the product and it’s educational applications.

Extricom found that the iPad will have great influence in the educational market, since it has “the essential ingredients for success in education, both primary/secondary and higher education” (Extricom, 1). They found that the iPad is a great eBook reader, due to the company’s reputation many publishers have developed content specific for the iPad, and many of the classics are available for free which reduces costs for school, “For high school students, an iPad could replace a backpack full of text books, a scientific calculator, a dictionary and thesaurus – and it is also a great iPod and gaming device…” (Extricom, 5).
Portability is a great advantage when students can have all they need at the palm of their hand.

However, Extricom did find some cons, like the lack of a keyboard or mouse; it doesn’t have a hard drive, or a USB port. It is a one app at a time device; it doesn’t allow multitasking like your PC or Mac do. The iPad is also a challenge for schools from the point-of-view of the “additional traffic load, and the increased emphasis on multimedia traffic that requires Quality of Service guarantees on the wireless LAN in order to deliver a positive user experience” (Extricom, 6)), so schools could be faced with slower connections if their wireless capabilities are not up to par.