iPad Program Frequently asked questions

 

Why do students need these devices?

After much research and consideration, the school's technology committee determined that the best model of student computing at Norfolk Collegiate is a one-to-one model.  This means that every student has a device to use during school and at home.  One of our reasons for exploring one-to-one models is that students and teachers can use their devices to research questions at the moment they arise in discussions. This kind of access opens up classroom dialogue and encourages students to probe issues deeply and to explore ideas of importance to them.  With the iPads as a one-to-one device, we discovered limitless possibilities for this kind of student engagement and ownership of learning. Not only can students take notes electronically in class, they have the additional capacity to receive and annotate digital copies of a teacher's presentation on an iPad.  They may even receive a video presentation created by the teacher for viewing the night before class in a "flipped classroom" model.  Students can present their learning in digital formats that incorporate video, audio, and imported texts of interest.  Research in best educational practices tells us that students need an additional set of capacities to be successful in the 21st century - critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.  The iPad offers anywhere-anytime learning, greater opportunity for creative and individualized learning experiences, enhanced sharing and collaboration possibilities, and versatility as an integrated personal and instructional device. 


Which grades are participating?
Grades 6-12 participate in the one-to-one iPad program. Students in grades K-5 will continue to use the model of shared classroom sets of iPads.


Why was the iPad the chosen device?
The iPad was the clear choice for several reasons.  Most importantly, the iPad can do everything that our students need to do with a one-to-one device, but with its vast selection of educational apps the iPad has the additional ability to provide learning experiences that clearly support important 21st century skills -  critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity.  Additionally, the iPad is lightweight and portable, turns on instantly, has a fully charged battery life of up to 10 hours, does not present a barrier between students or between students and teacher as a laptop does, and the cost of the iPad is well below that of most laptops. 



What happens if a newer or better device comes out?
We are confident that the iPad is a device that will continue to be in use in the educational setting for years to come.  Our motivation for choosing the iPad is its capacity to provide all of the traditional computing functions required  for school, while also allowing unique opportunities for students to be engaged in the exploration and creation of digital content. Apple's commitment to education is clear. With that said, the technology industry is growing so rapidly that new devices and platforms are developed constantly. We are aware that we must be vigilant in monitoring what is best for our students as we move forward.  Any change in our one-to-one iPad program; however, would be phased in so that families would not be in the position of having to replace a student's device within three years of an initial purchase.

Who buys and owns the apps?
Families will purchase apps and they will belong to the family. Apps do not need to be purchased annually - once owned, they are the property of the purchaser.  We have developed a core list of apps that students will need across divisions and departments to keep app purchase requirements to a minimum. Additionally, we have discovered that there are many highly recommended apps for use in classrooms that are free.  We are pleased to note that all newly activated iPads will now come with a standard set of apps that were previously only available for purchase.  The iWorks suite of apps including Pages, Keynote, Numbers, and iMovie are now included when you activate any iPad model for the first time. 


Can apps be shared between students in the same family?
Yes.  Once you purchase the apps with an Apple account, they are owned by that account and may be shared on up to five devices.  


Will all of my student's textbooks be on the iPad?
Not all of your student's textbooks will be available for the iPad, but we do have faculty departments investigating which texts can be migrated to electronic versions. We anticipate a blended model for textbook acquisition. Students will likely have a choice of print or electronic textbooks for some courses, and possibly an electronic-only or print-only version for others.  One of the most highly praised features of the one-to-one iPad schools we have visited is the ability to offer e-textbooks. The simplicity of having textbooks consolidated into a single compact device decreases the load in student backpacks, promotes organizational skills, and reduces the frustration  of discovering that a textbook has been forgotten at school. Textbooks designed for the iPad also often offer multi-media content and up to the minute updating that is not possible with traditional printed textbooks.  We anticipate offering electronic textbooks when they are the right choice for our instructional program and for our students.


Do we need a case, keyboard, and stylus?
All students need a case of some type to protect the iPad from damage.  Students should determine their own comfort level with the virtual keyboard available on the iPad when deciding whether or not to purchase a case with a keyboard.  Keep in mind that it is our intention that the iPad function as an "everything" device for our students.  This includes the ability to type papers, lab reports, etc.  A keyboard may provide a more efficient means for accomplishing these kinds of traditional tasks. Additionally, you will note that we also recommend a case with a keyboard for the iPad mini due to the smaller onscreen keyboard provided with that version of the iPad.  A stylus is a helpful tool for apps that allow students to use a draw or write feature, but it is not a general requirement.

What kind of Apple ID does my student need for the iPad?
The Apple ID used for the iPad may be set up in a variety of ways to meet the requirements of the family.  Ideally, the account should be one that parents may also access.  Students under the age of 13 must have a parent as the owner of the Apple account to which their iPad is connected.  Some students and families may already have existing Apple IDs that they wish to use with the student iPad.  All of these options will work.  


What about the iTunes account?  What is it for and how should we set it up?
The iTunes account allows your student to download free and purchased apps from the App Store.  While an iTunes account will be required with the iPad, it does not have to be a new account.  Any existing iTunes account can be configured on the iPad. It is also possible to have more than one iPad attached to the same iTunes account.


How can I manage the apps my student purchases with the iTunes account?
There are number of ways to monitor your student's purchases in the iTunes or App stores.  It is possible to sign up for an iTunes account without a credit card, meaning that you student will need to ask you to assist in purchases.   Additionally, parents may choose to implement parental controls on the iPad that will prevent app purchases without entering a code for approval.  iTunes gift cards can be used in lieu of a credit card if you would like to give your student limited purchasing ability. 


What if my student's iPad is broken, damaged, or lost during the school year?  How will he/she continue to participate in instructional activities?
We will be working with our students to ensure that they practice good habits in the management of their iPads.  We highly recommend the purchase of AppleCare+ protection for the iPad.  This insurance offers quick replacement of an iPad damaged due to accident or normal usage.  It does not, however, cover lost or stolen devices.  We will work to ensure that students develop a strong sense of responsibility for taking care of the iPads, both as individuals and as part of the community.  In the event that a student is without an iPad for a brief period of time, the school will have a few loaner devices on hand to ensure that students may participate fully in the instructional day.


How is the Internet filtered on the iPad?  
The Internet is filtered on the iPad in the same way that all of the computers on our network are filtered.  Students must sign in to the wireless network with their credentials that identify them by grade and provide them with the proper level of Internet filtering. Please keep in mind that this filtering is only in place at school.  When students log in to networks off campus, they will only have the filtering provided by those networks.  

Are families required to have wireless Internet access at home?
Some of the apps on the iPad do require wireless access in order to function.  Additionally, some e-textbooks may require wireless access for certain features in a book. Certain other operations, such as word processing and creation of content in many apps, do not require wireless.  Wireless access is available throughout the school buildings for students to use before, during, and after school.  The library is open every day Monday - Thursday from 7:30 am - 4:30 pm, and on Fridays until 3:15 pm, to provide a quiet study space.  If wireless Internet access is not available at home, then students should make sure that they have all of the files they need before leaving school for the day.  Public libraries also offer free wireless access on weekends and in the evenings.  

Will students still need laptop or desktop computers once they have iPads?
It is our intention that the iPad can be used for all school requirements.  From writing papers to creating projects, class assignments will be structured so that the iPad can serve student computing needs.  The only exception to this is our computer-intensive courses for which a school provided laptop or desktop computer will be used during class.  In these classes, such as Desktop Publishing or CAD, work requiring student use of the computer will take place during class time.  


Will there be any tech support at school for iPads?
Our IT department is on hand during the school day to assist students with troubleshooting network connections and similar issues.  We cannot perform any hardware repair on student iPads as this may invalidate the AppleCare+ insurance policy.  But our staff will always assist by providing a preliminary assessment and recommendation for next steps for troubleshooting any problems.


How do we backup data on the iPad?  
We will be encouraging students to save their data in cloud-based services such as Google Drive and iCloud.  This greatly decreases the need for making backups to home computers because the data in these apps is automatically synced to servers operated by the hosting company.  

For additional information about the Norfolk Collegiate iPad Program, please contact Charlene Loope, director of instructional technology and communication arts, via email or by phone at 757.480.2885.