My school district has decided to provide an iPad to every student in the district, from kindergarten to grade 3, starting next September -- although a handful of classrooms are piloting this currently. The iPads will stay at school (i.e. they won't be sent home with the students).
I predict that some parents will want to opt out. Let's take that as a given, i.e. a premise for my question.
Q1. How can a teacher accommodate the student(s) who have opted out? This isn't a rhetorical question, and I realize it may be difficult. I really am looking for creative ideas here.
Q2. If a family wishes to opt out in a more drastic way, such that their child is not exposed to the iPads at all, how can a school accommodate this? (Same clarification as for Q1.)
Context: teachers here are just starting to figure out how to incorporate iPads into their teaching at this time.
I expect teachers will earn higher principal evaluation scores for using the iPads in their teaching (as opposed to stuffing them in a closet). Note, teacher tenure decisions are now tied to principal evaluation score, and tenure can be revoked. Thus, pressure will be high for teachers to incorporate iPads to at least some extent into the school day.
Responding to @BenCrowell:
Why would parents opt out? I can imagine why they would opt out of having them brought home (don't want responsibility for an expensive device), but you're not talking about having them brought home. I can imagine why they would prefer that the whole program not exist (the program sounds like a stupid idea to me, too). But how could they imagine that their kid will benefit from being the only one in the room who doesn't have the shiny toy, who doesn't get to follow the same lesson?
A growing number of parents in our district are voicing objections to the plan; whether it's one lone student in a class who's opting out, or a more substantial number of students, I'd still like to get an idea how a teacher could differentiate instruction for the padders and the non-padders.
One parent in my district wrote the following:
"Interaction with technology, especially with touchscreen devices, can reduce students' attention spans and their desire to sink into other more difficult, but ultimately richer experiences, such as reading for pleasure. We have noticed this effect especially strongly with our boys and other boys in general. We would like to see our elementary schools continue to provide an environment of positive values, respect for others, and intellectual curiosity, and interest in activities that will provide a lifetime of enrichment. We have found that touch screen devices are so compelling for children this age that it can take away interest from activities that do not have such quick feedback, but that provide depth in the long run. We believe that computer literacy is valuable for students, especially for students that do not have computers in their home, but we believe that iPads and other touchscreen devices are not the right tools for teaching computer literacy."
I've found a number of districts that have already implemented a 1:1 program, and they all have opt-out forms posted on their websites.
I would ask contributors not to argue with the premise in this question, "I predict that some parents will want to opt out. Let's take that as a given, i.e. a premise for my question."
In any case, this is off-topic for the site.
I hope some SE participants will put their thinking hats on and help me try to figure out how the differentiation could be done.
This is going to be an issue in many, many schools, sooner than you might think. For example, the state of New York is offering schools a sizeable subsidy for supplying personal devices for students, through the Smart Schools Bond Act. See http://programs.governor.ny.gov/smart-schools-ny
We also don't know what the ipads are used for, so we can't answer.
Frankly, I think the folks who participate on this site would probably be able to think up better ways to use them than your typical elementary teachers, whose forte is very rarely mathematics.
I'm not ready to give up yet on the idea of differentiating instruction to accommodate both padders and non-padders in one classroom. I personally haven't been able to imagine any ways to do it, though, which is why I posed the question and bounty here.
And let's not forget Q2 -- I'm also trying to figure out how a teacher or a school can accommodate an individual family that's saying, I don't give permission; please keep the devices well away from my child.
Thanks to those who have participated so far. Responding to some of the comments:
The parents were upset about their kids touching a computer screen, not seeing the computer screen.
That is indeed the scenario in Q1, but in Q2, a family is attempting to opt out in a more blanket way.
The dreaded screen of the iPad
Ouch! A bit judgmental, no?
What do you do if a parent objects to the Pearson textbook you use, without having read it?
Speaking for myself, as a parent of a student in the state of New York, I have objected to some Pearson quasi-textbooks (EngageNY "modules"), but after having read them.