Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
NEW BOSTON — Several years ago New Boston School received more than 100 Apple iPads for students use in the classroom. This year, the district is getting more than 200 new iPad Mini’s, which — combined with their existing iPads — will allow one for every student in grades 4-12, and every teacher to use at school and at home. Superintendent Mike Staggs said the iPads have been purchased through a program, and is not using taxpayer money.
“We have several iPads now in grades 4-12. We probably have around 150 iPads now. We get those from participating in innovative programs, such as problem-based learning. The Southeast Ohio STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) Hub wanted a school that would go through training and train other schools on problem-based learning. As an incentive for a school to choose to do that they would get them 60 iPads,” Staggs said.
Those iPads have been locked in secure charging stations at the school, ready for teachers to request and use in their classrooms. Now the district is getting 230 new iPad Mini’s, purchased with money the district has saved by leasing its broadband spectrum. The combined inventory of new and existing iPads will be enough to assign one to every student (grade 4-12 only) and every teacher to carry with them and use at school or at home.
The existing iPads will be assigned to the younger kids, because they are larger than the new Mini’s and more difficult to lose. The older students will be assigned the iPad Mini. Eventually, Staggs said, the plan is to eliminate text books and instead install ebooks and learning apps onto the devices.
“New Boston will save money in the long run from not buying the paperbound text books,” Staggs said. “There are so many reasons to do this, and one of those reasons is the backs of our younger kids that carry these 50-pound bookbags.”
Just like those text books, students are responsible for their iPads. Parents have to sign an agreement to replace any lost or damaged equipment. Students can use the books at home, but they are are not allowed to install unauthorized apps or content to the devices, and they will be routinely checked to be sure students aren’t playing games like “Angry Birds” when they should be studying their homework.
“We can’t police everything. We’re counting on the parents to help us,” Staggs said.
Staggs said the district is waiting to order the devices until the newest Apple equipment and software are released, which is expected to be announced next month and possibly released in October. He hopes they will be available early in the new school year, which begins Tuesday.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.