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Editorial: Willmar iPad plan has great first year

Willmar Senior High School has successfully completed the first year of using 650 Apple iPads tablets for its seniors, juniors and staff.

The students, faculty and administration are reporting positive reviews for the iPads’ first year. Many students have one word — grateful — to describe their iPad experience.

Parents and students initially opposed to the iPad usage for juniors and seniors have now become iPad supporters.

The iPad program’s success led the school district to decide to expand it to the ninth- and 10th-grade levels next year.

Willmar’s iPad program was successful for several reasons:

* Each junior and senior student had access to their own iPad, no one was left out because their family couldn’t afford the tablet cost.

* It allowed the school district to stop purchasing expensive print text books and replace them with iBooks written by staff. This in turn reduces the weight of student backpacks.

* Students were able to research class projects utilizing their iPads. They also could access assignments and complete homework via the iPads.

* The program significantly reduced paper use in junior and senior classes. The social studies department reduced paper usage 85 percent, compared to the previous year.

Congratulations to the students, staff and administration at Willmar High School on the implementation of the iPad program and the success of the first year.

Thank you to the iCardinal campaign and the business leaders who led the community fundraising effort to make this iPad project a success.

Willmar working together is impressive and generates results when we do.