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SAISD Testing Tablets To Increase Student Performance

Ryan Loyd

San Antonio Independent School District is testing out technology to increase student performance.

This semester, 22 students at Fox Tech high school will do their reading, check assignments and conduct lab experiments using a Kindle tablet.

Senior Marina Garcia is one of the students taking part in the pilot program in one of the school’s advanced placement biology classes.

"The Kindles are such an amazing opportunity that we've received to be able to have the Kindles with us for whatever resources we need, not only for our AP Biology class, but for all our classes," she said.

SAISD Chief Information Officer Marcos Zorola will then compare their performance from last semester -- when they used textbooks, pencils and paper the old fashioned way -- to their performance with the tablets.

Zorola's hypothesis: instant access to the internet and electronic textbooks could speed up the learning process.

"By bringing all those together, we believe that that will help them in understanding these concepts much better because they can instantly look things up,” said Zorola.

This is the first time SAISD has pit tablets against the standard textbooks. If it's successful, all students in the district could be learning this way. Zorola says the price point of the Kindle beats any other device on the market.

"iPads are fantastic, but realistically, to put an iPad in the hands of every student in our district is quite expensive,” he said.

Garcia says she's excited about this new technology and says it'll help her graduate and go onto college.

Ryan Loyd was Texas Public Radio's city beat and political reporter. He left the organization in December, 2014.