Questions & Answers
Will a case be provided with the iPad?
Yes, the school district will provide protective cases for student iPads.
If students are getting iPads, do I need to purchase a calculator for my child?
This year, because not all students will have iPads until the final December through February phase, you will need to purchase the calculator that is required for a course.
Will the district charge a fee for the device my student uses?
For now, no, there is no fee. Many districts with a similar initiative charge a usage fee for devices to help offset the cost of replacement devices. There will not be a fee during the first phases this fall because we are entering the initial stages of a very new program and will be learning along the way with our first groups of students.
What is the initiative?
During the 2012-13 school year, the district will phase in a 1:1 Digital Learning Initiative, eventually putting a technology learning device – an iPad in grades 3-12, iPod Touch in grades K-2 -- in the hands of almost every student in the district with a primary goal of continuously improving student engagement, and personalizing and improving the learning of each student.
No, it’s not a brand new idea. There are school districts throughout the country, including Minnesota, that have successfully implemented an initiative such as this. In Spring Lake Park, the plan is the culmination of years of professional learning, development of a comprehensive technology plan, ongoing evaluation of a wide variety of technologies, researching, visiting, and learning from benchmark school districts, staff input, as well as establishing a partnership with the Farmington School District to realize efficiencies in planning and purchasing and to improve effectiveness in implementation.
The district’s research –and its own pilot projects-- led to conclusions that digital learners are engaged learners, that expanded use of technology provides tools for staff to better differentiate instruction and meet the unique needs of their students. Research also demonstrates that the effective use of technology leads to creative and innovative experiences and facilitate student skill development as critical thinkers, collaborators and communicators, global learners, and digital citizens.
High quality instruction, and high quality teaching, is the number one influence on student learning. While expanding digital learning will provide equity and additional tools for teachers to deliver transformational learning for each student, by itself, an iPad, interactive white board, or laptop is just a device. They require purposeful application by high quality teachers in order to make a difference for kids.
While it may be easier to do some work with access to the Internet, students will be able to download most information they need onto their device to work on at home.
While we anticipate having support at the start of the project, other districts’ iPad initiatives show that the need for such tech support has been minimal.
While the devices are meant for student use, we encourage parents to explore and learn alongside their children. We also encourage parents to check the devices on a regular basis to see how their students are using them.
The school's Internet filter is only good when connecting to the Internet at school. It is not part of the iPad. When the iPad goes home or to any other location and connects to the Internet, content will only be filtered based on that connection.
At home the parent is in charge. You have the right to make the rules as to when the student can use the device at home.
In our research of benchmark districts, one of the common threads that ran through each program was learning to manage the devices through thoughtful implementation plan. We will phased-in rollout plan to learn the most effective implementation methods by taking careful steps in the first year of the initiative.
We will collect devices at the end of each school year in order to update, make repairs, and clean the devices.
All Spring Lake Park devices will be engraved with a district logo and phone number.
Our plan is that students will retain the same device each year until upgraded. Our research showed that students take better care of the devices when they know are using them over multiple years.
At this time we do not anticipate that students would be able to do so.
Students will be asked to use a school-issued iPad due to app licensing and the instructional materials that will be loaded on the devices for classroom learning. In the future, we may explore opportunities for student/family-owned devices to be used for school, but for the first year, we will only use school-issued devices so we can manage the apps/licensing, settings, and configurations within our network.
Staff will be allowed to purchase their own apps, as will students age 13 or older, as long as they choose appropriate apps and comply with the Spring Lake Park Acceptable Use Policy. Please note that personal apps may be deleted from a device when syncing to district servers.
We plan to offer courses for parents in the fall.
All Spring Lake Park teachers will receive professional learning around the devices in order to successfully implement them into their instruction.
Teachers who will begin utilizing devices at the start of the next school year will get their devices in the summer. Professional learning has already begun for many of these teachers.
Phase-in options were initially created by staff members in the Systems Readiness and Implementation work group, then revised based upon feedback from a variety of stakeholder groups.
Quantitative and qualitative data will be used to evaluate the success of this program.