Why are we requiring all students to have an iPad?

No matter what students do when they leave the high school, they will need to be able to be effective communicators, collaborators, curators, and creators if they are to be successful leaders and citizens in the 21st century. These are the skills that we want our students to develop over their four years in the high school. If we want to develop those skills, then we need to ask them to communicate, collaborate, curate, and create in their classes. We then must equip students with the tools they need to engage in these tasks. Mobile technology, coupled with wireless access to the internet, gives students the means they need to practice the four Cs we have described above.

Aren’t iPads bad for writing?

The onscreen keyboard does pose some challenges for writing. Given writing’s importance to the process of communication, we must find a way to support this skill with the iPad. That is why we are requiring the purchase of a keyboard with the iPad. The keyboard will give students the tool they need to write in an efficient manner. They still will be able to untether the device from the keyboard, so the mobility of the device will be unaffected.

Why just 7th, 9th and 10th graders?

We are not proposing that we give iPads to students and that school will go on as it always has. If we give students such a powerful tool with the ability to access unlimited information, along with an abundance of creative and collaborative tools, we need to expect that learning should look quite a bit different as well. This will require a shift in expectations, curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Such changes can only be supported through sustained learning and professional development for teachers. If we focus our efforts on the 7th, 9th, and 10th grades, we feel we can more efficiently and effectively grow the capacity within our faculty to teach in a more student-centered environment. In addition, the smaller group of students will allow the technology staff to learn how to support teachers and students as we deploy mobile technology across the school.

How long will it take for the entire school to be 1:1?

By 2019-2020, we will be fully implemented grades 7-12. At the start of the 2018-2019 school year, students in 7th and 9th grade will be folded into the program and in 2019-2020 all students will have access to a 1:1 device.

Who will pay for the iPads?

We are modeling our program as a partnership with families, similar to what is done at Beverly High School and Hamilton Wenham Regional High School. Families will assume the cost of the devices, and the school will provide the technology support.

How much will this cost?

We estimate that each family will pay approximately $315 per year to supply a device to one student. This includes the cost of the iPad, cover, keyboard, apps, and insurance. There will be different payment options and methods available to families including a one time payment for the device in full, two payments over the course of one year, and monthly payments over three years.

What about students who cannot afford to participate?

We are a public school and all students will have access to this program regardless of ability to pay. We are in the process of creating a scholarship fund to support students who are not able to pay the full cost.

What if I have my own iPad? Can I use that to participate?

Students who already have their own iPad can use it to participate.  However, the school may not be able to support student-owned devices and students will be responsible for purchasing apps that are required for class.

What tech support will be offered?

Students will be able to bring their iPad to the tech center for assistance with problems they are having with their iPads. In addition, the tech staff will provide all students with the apps that the school requires for class. This is done through a mobile device management system and this takes place automatically. Students who purchase iPads through the school also receive three years of Apple Care which covers damages and breakage of the device.

How much ownership of the will students have?

Students will be able to take the devices home every night and in the summer. They may put their own content on the device, with the provision that the iPad is first and foremost a learning device. In addition, the iPad and it’s use are still governed by the district’s acceptable use policy.  

Who will monitor the use of the iPads?

Again, as this program is a partnership, both the school and families need to play a role. Filtering of content and appropriate use is the responsibility of the school when students are in school. When students are at home, parents and guardians will monitor use. The school and families must work together to help our students become effective digital citizens.