More than 200 parents and students filled the auditorium at Parsippany Hills High School on Monday night for one of the freshman iPad meetings.
Ninth graders are getting iPads this school year and they pick them up at orientation on Sept. 4. As one of the requirements, parents have to attend one of the four iPad meetings.
Barry Haines, Supervisor of District Technology, started the meeting by asking students what they typically use their iPhones and iPads for. Answers ranged from social media and games to online shopping and texting.
“One of the goals of this program is to take it beyond social networking … and use it for educational reasons,” said Haines.
In June a superintendent’s letter was sent out about the iPads for 2013 freshmen. There are three things that families have to do for their student to get an iPad on Sept. 4:
- Attend a meeting
- Sign the iPad user agreement— Parents need to go to Genesis and log in, go to forms to find the iPad Student Agreement
- Sign the 9th grade acceptable use policy—CIPA (children internet protection act).
Here’s a look at some of the items in the iPad user agreement:
- iPads are the sole property of the district and students should not lend it to anybody.
- Students will also get a charger for the iPad and a sturdy case. If lost, the charger will not be replaced, unless there’s an issue due to faulty manufacturing.
- iPads need to be fully charged before brought to school each day.
- The device should not be left unattended, left in extremely hot places, hacked, repaired, disassembled or subverted.
Ninth graders get iPads for all four years.
“We will take them back in the summer time, we’ll clean it up and give it back in September, but we can’t guarantee that it will be the same one,” said Haines. “At the end of four years if you’d like to buy it, the superintendent has said that you can buy it for $1, but I’m not sure anyone will want a 4-year old device.”
One of the reasons behind the iPad initiative is because New Jersey is rolling out the new “Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers,” or PARCC exam, in the fall of 2014.
“For the PARCC exam, students will have to take it on a digital device,” said Haines. Because grades 10-12 will not be provided an iPad, those students will still “be taught skills that will help them with PARCC digital testing.”
Haines said that students may use their own personal iPads instead. He added that the school will provide parents with the specs of the iPad they’re using if families want to buy students the same iPad the other students will be using, but it’s fine if students use an older model.
If a student uses their own iPad, “we will load it up with the apps and software that we’re using.”
In the Classroom
Some of the apps students will be using include Notability, keynote, page, notes, Google drive and email. Later, apps such as iMovie and digital textbooks will be added.
“Students are already ahead of us and have worked with the cloud,” said Haines. All iPads are backed up to the cloud. Michael Wilson, Network Manager and Diane Schiller, Manager of Technical Support were also on hand to answer questions. They suggested that students can also back up hardware by syncing it to a home computer.
“We want to show that those same activities and skills you use for social networking, we want to bring those same skills into the classroom for group collaborative projects,” said Haines.
The iPads can only be used for approved educational purposes and apps, such as Google documents, Google chat, Google hang outs and other collaborative websites.
“Books aren’t going away. They’re still part of the process (of learning),” said Haines, adding later in the presentation that “we’re trying to a couple pilots and in a couple classes (or subject areas), we’re trying to adopt online textbooks.”
There are printing capabilities on the iPad but a student can only print out of school.
“Within the district, we are not enabling printing capabilities because that’s one of the costs that we hope to recover in 2-3 years and reduce printing, just like in 3-5 years, reduce (the costs) of textbooks,” he said.
Haines also suggested for students to save documents to Google Docs and open it at the library and print them there.
In this article, Patch looks at the policies related to the iPad, which includes privacy, insurance, theft, loss and damages. Check back with Patch later for reactions from parents and students on the new iPad initiative.