The devices were a gift from the cloud computing company Salesforce. The entire amount of the donation was $2.7 million, a first for the district, and this is only the first phase of this project intended to bring more technology inside the classroom.
There isn't one for every student, but every student will have access to an iPad in science class at Martin Luther King Middle School in San Francisco. Marc Benioff the CEO of Salesforce donated the devices at the beginning of the school year, and visited the school to see how they are being used.
"We have a lot of folks who are wondering just what they should do to give back and I think they should stop wondering and start giving," Benioff told ABC7 News.
The iPads, 750 of them, were distributed to all 12 middle schools in San Francisco – that's about 62 per school. Each school also received an additional $100,000 to invest in areas that would benefit students. At Martin Luther King, the principal decided to use that extra money to purchase more iPads for a grand total of 180 devices.
"So throughout the day, every single one of my 500 students will have an iPad in science class. So, that's what I chose to do with the funds," Principal Natalie Eberhard said.
San Francisco's mayor and the school superintendent had approached Benioff to help bring more technology into the classrooms. They say putting iPads in the city's middle schools was the right choice.
"We discovered when we looked at all the schools, we saw the big drop off and it was in the middle schools. That's where the truancy starts and gets embedded," San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.
"Since I've gotten the iPad, I've learned so much more about the iPad and more of the world. It's much easier to collect knowledge and all that stuff," one student told ABC7 News.
Teachers are also using the iPads to instantly track a student's progress. "Students will be able to use and identify, and be able to apply and think critically, and work in teams and think outside the box," said Superintendent Richard Carranza.
There is little chance of breaking or losing them. Students are not allowed to take them home. The devices are stored and locked in a cart which holds 30 at a time. And because accidents do happen, the district purchased an extended warranty plan -- just in case.