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What will be provided to my student?
Every middle and high school student will be assigned an iPad mini for their use along with a protective case, power cable, and charger.
The Instructional Technology Advisory Committee recommended the iPad as the preferred device after several months of deliberation. They explored several devices, including laptops, tablets, netbooks and Chromebooks with a focus on how each device could be used to support sample tasks from our curriculum expectations.
Some of the specific requirements that were met by the iPad and mentioned by the committee included:
Long battery life (the iPad can make it through a full day of school on a single charge)
Robust accessibility features to support students with special needs
Ease of use and low need for technical support
Access to video and audio recording tools for projects
Ease of access to mail, calendar and web
Preferred format for screen based reading
Why is the Learning Technology Plan still providing access to labs and Chromebook carts?
While the iPad can meet many of the day to day needs for student and teacher learning tasks, there are times when a more robust computing environment is needed, such as in a programming class. In addition, as state requirements for online assessments are being developed, the availability of a dedicated lab environment still makes sense. Finally, our move to a 1:1 environment where each student is assigned a device will require adjustment and shifts in how we do our work. For all of these reasons, it seemed prudent to continue to refresh labs for the foreseeable future.
As we move forward, we will continue to assess the need for dedicated labs in each school and adjust the Learning Technology Plan accordingly.
How will this impact my student’s learning experiences?
The Learning Technology Plan (LTP) provides extended access to digital tools that help students investigate, communicate, collaborate, create, model, and explore concepts and content in authentic contexts.
In parallel with the LTP device decisions, district curriculum coordinators are exploring a transition to digital textbooks. In the fall of 2014, secondary students moved to a fully digital program for their English Language Arts curriculum. Future textbook adoptions will have the ability to explore new resources and tools for learning with the knowledge that rich technology access is available for all students.
In addition, each school is actively planning for the incorporation of technology into their focus program.
What are my costs to participate?
While there are no costs to participate, parents have the option of enrolling in an iPad insurance program to offset the costs of repairs due to damage. While each student will be provided with a protective case for their iPad, insurance will help parents cover unintentional damage that can occur such as when a student breaks off a set of headphones in the audio jack or more extreme accidents that render the device unusable. Our district policy, JQ-R already outlines student responsibility for damage or loss of materials, and our hope is that by offering insurance, we can assist in making the risks of a more costly educational resource more affordable. The current cost of the insurance program is $35 annually.
What rules or expectations will be set for my child?
The Student and Parent expectations and commitments documents outline the behaviors expected of users as well as the commitment your school and the district make to ensure success. In addition, more specific rules may be set by schools and classroom teachers which will be communicated to you.
Can my student use a personally owned device instead?
Yes, bring your own device (BYOD) is an option provided it meets the district criteria (an iPad capable of running the current version of iOS). The decision to require that BYOD devices be limited to iOS devices is intended to ensure that all students have the ability to access and use the same materials and to ensure that we can focus on supporting learning rather than supporting considerations for access with a plethora of device choices.
Can I restrict what my student does?
Yes. Schools will provide information to assist you in making healthy digital choices for your student. You as a parent will be able to set limitations on your student’s device including parental restrictions on access to installing apps without your permission, access to video chats, and more. While we will set the device to limit access to explicit material in the iTunes and iBooks store and filter Internet access while at school, we realize that you may wish to place further limits on the types of allowed use and want to encourage you to do so. We believe that this device should align with your family values and the best way to do that is to work together as partners in these decisions. Please note that students have the ability to reset their devices. When a device is reset, parental restrictions may be removed, but district restrictions will remain in place. It would be a good idea to check in with your students regularly to ensure settings meet parental expectations.
How can I support healthy device use and limits at home?
A digital device in the home can be a wonderful thing. Dad can finish that correspondence course he’s been working on. The family can record special moments to send to family far away, or FaceTime Grandma into a special birthday dinner. We hope that these learning devices will serve as learning devices for the entire family, once the students’ assignments are complete, of course.
We encourage families to be open with each other and to talk regularly about how the device can and will be a useful item in the household – and not one more burden.
We encourage families to utilize Common Sense Media resources for starting and continuing high quality conversations at home.
Can I opt out of the program?
A family has the option to provide their own device that meets the district standard or to request that nightly secured storage be made available for the device at school so it does not go home. For requests beyond this, please speak to your school administrator.
Is there any research backing the program?
Several excellent examples of using tablets to support instruction are available including information from Project Red, which we are using to guide many of our implementation decisions. Specific examples from schools and districts across the country include Euclid City Schools in Ohio, and Eanes School District in Texas.
Are there any low cost options for home Internet access?
Yes, there are currently three options for low cost internet.