We have compiled Frequently Asked Questions about the iPad Rollout, Implementation, Student/parent Responsibilities, and Evaluation, Questions, Feedback.
Where can I learn about the iPad? Apple offers a wealth of information on the iPad:
How is this being funded? What will this cost our family?
For the current pilot program, the school system has purchased iPads and lent them to students and families. Support funding has been requested of both the Blake CSA and the MCPE, and that funding will be determined at their upcoming meetings. For this pilot, the Medfield Public Schools is supplying the iPad, cord/charger, case, and software (Apps).
When will students receive their iPads?
The current plan is for students to receive their iPads the week of September 10. Students and parents are required to attend one of the information sessions, and ‘sign-off’ forms must be turned in before iPads are received.
May students on the Stars cluster opt out of using the iPad?
Our hope is that all students on the Stars will participate in the pilot so that we can have a comprehensive understanding of how they impact student learning.
What is the time frame for this pilot?
The pilot will begin in September of 2012 and end at the conclusion of the 2012-2013 academic year. Students will need to turn their iPads in prior to the 2013 summer vacation.
My child already has an iPad. Will he or she be able to use that one during the pilot?
No. The iPads for the pilot have been equipped with the appropriate software for school and configured with specific user settings. To stay true to the essence and guiding principles of the pilot, we need to standardize machines as completely as possible. For reasons of classroom consistency and device management, students need to use a district iPad while in school.
Will there be any ongoing training on how to use the iPad?
In addition to ‘in-class’ training/instruction for students, we plan on distributing ‘training and tips’ throughout the year for families.
Will students and staff be using the iPads every day?
The expectation for students is that they will have them in school and in class each and every day. As with all educational resources, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and the implementation will be balanced and purposeful. However, the iPad will be an integral learning tool over the course of the school day for the Stars students. The teachers are planning on having the students use their iPads as their ‘agendas’, and to develop organizational and time management skills across curricular areas, as well as a part of the core instruction and learning.
Will the school provide additional parent communication about the iPad?
Yes. In addition to the initial information sessions for both students and parents, we plan on holding parent feedback sessions and providing updates throughout the year.
Will my child be bringing the iPad home?
Yes, we are encouraging students to use this tool as a personal learning device and as a bridge from school to home. All students and parents will need to sign a contract around appropriate use, care, and guidelines for the iPad – both in and out of school. If you have concerns about your child bringing the iPad home, please contact Matt Marenghi, Kelly Campbell, or Nat Vaughn.
Can students install their own apps?
No. All apps will be managed through the school. If students/families have suggestions for apps, they can contact their teachers directly or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where in school can it be used or not used? Where should students leave the iPads when at school?
The Blake staff will clearly articulate where and when the iPad can be used, and where it is prohibited or 'off limits'. Areas like the gymnasium, locker room, cafeteria, bathrooms, etc. will be 'No-iPad' areas. Students should have their iPads with them as they go to academic classes and can store them in their locked lockers when not needed.
What happens if an iPad gets broken, lost, or stolen?
The district has insured the iPads against loss through theft or damage, but the student/parent is responsible for any damage or loss that is due to negligence. We will be working hard to instill in our students a sense of ownership and responsibility for this tool. We have purchased 'heavy duty' iPad cases to help prevent damages.
How will the teachers address the inherent 'distractions' that the iPad may present in the classroom?
What security features are enabled on the iPad?
We have recorded the internal serial numbers and network MAC address information of each iPad. Our goal is to provide security for each student, in order to help him/her protect and preserve his/her iPad. We also have a responsibility to make sure each iPad is secure and being used for academic activities alone. Therefore, our management software allows us to remotely wipe an iPad to remove content, if necessary.
How will online safety and exposure to inappropriate content be addressed?
The Blake staff has shared concerns with parents regarding student safety online and in the 'cyberworld'. We will need to continue teaching students to use technology and the internet in a safe and responsible manner. We need to make sure that we, as adults, stay informed and current regarding existing risks, likelihood and consequences of risks, and the benefits/costs associated with the risks. Teachers will be teaching students about Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy to help students to best use technology in a responsible manner. These concepts should also be reinforced at home.
Will the Internet be filtered on student iPads?
The Internet will be filtered while the students are connected to the Medfield Public Schools. However, devices will not have Internet filtering on them outside of the Medfield Public Schools network.
Finding appropriate content will always be our goal, and limiting inappropriate content will always be a challenge. At school all Internet access through our wireless network infrastructure (WiFi) is filtered for inappropriate content. For off-campus use, we have employed a program called Casper that allows our network administrators to oversee the app management on the iPads.
In all of these efforts, we also recognize that nothing is perfect. Communication between the school and families concerning any possible loopholes in the safety programs is critical.
Can we put personal media (music, books, videos, etc.) on the iPad?
No. The iPads for the pilot are intended for academic purposes and should not be used as a personal media player.
Will the school set rules for use of the iPad at home?
We expect that families will observe the Blake guidelines regarding decency and treatment of others, as well as our guidelines for age-appropriate supervision of students. These machines are the property of the Medfield Public Schools and the School's Acceptable Use Policy apply. We also ask that all parents and students sign off on the 'Blake iPad Guidelines'.
Parents should continue to use the same strategies they have been using to keep students focused on their work at home. Parents may want to consider charging the iPad in their room overnight so students would not have access to it during the late evening hours.
When will the iPads be charged?
It is our expectation that the iPads will be charged every night when the students go home. If the iPads are fully charged, they should last throughout the school day.
What happens if my student forgets his/her iPad at home?
It is our hope and expectation that students will bring their iPads to school every day, but we do recognize that middle school students do forget their materials from time to time. Students/parents should respond in the same manner if a textbook, binder, or project is left at home.
Am I required to have wireless Internet access at home for the iPad pilot?
No, but it will help with the overall student experience. (The iPad does not plug into a hard-wired Internet connection.) If students do not have Wi-Fi access at home, they can connect to the Internet at school or the public library. If students experience technology issues with their iPads at home, parents should write a note or e-mail (if e-mail works) to the teachers explaining the situation.
Will students still need laptop or desktop computers once they have iPads?
While the iPad should be able to handle many of the student’s computing needs, it will be used in conjunction with a laptop or destktop computer.
Will students be able to sync their iPads with their home computers or iPhones?
No. All of the apps purchased belong to the school and the students will not need to transfer them to their iPhones or home computers. The teachers and administration have carefully researched and chosen appropriate apps and the students will not be able to add their own to the iPad. We have employed the Casper IOS management system to back up and sync data, settings, and apps.
Are all textbooks available electronically?
Not yet. Though some of the courses will be using e-texts, not all textbooks are currently online. We are evaluating our current textbooks and will make transitions to electronic versions as they become available and meet our students’ needs. Traditional textbooks will be sent home, both as resources and as traditional tools of learning. However, in many instances where electronic versions are not available, our teachers will use electronic supplements and ‘open sources’ that will allow students to use the iPads as their resources.
What about novels and other books required for certain classes?
Some novels are available electronically, and we are continually evaluating which titles we will support in electronic format.
Will students need iTunes accounts to use with iPads?
No. Students will, however, need to create a new Apple ID that will be used for setting up the iPad. These accounts should be ‘non credit card’ accounts. Directions for setting this up will be distributed at the information sessions.
Will my student need an e-mail account for this pilot?
Yes. We are asking all students to set up a ‘gmail account’, as Google Apps will be used throughout the pilot. Directions for setting up a gmail account will be distributed at the information sessions.
Will the built-in video camera and Facetime application be enabled?
Video capabilities will be enabled, but Facetime will not.
Evaluation, Questions, and Feedback
How will the school system be evaluating the pilot program?
Surveys, meetings, and focus groups; student and parent feedback will also be analyzed carefully.
What is the plan for the following year?
We are thinking through our technology options as a school and district and our hope is that this pilot help us to make informed and thoughtful decisions for our students and staff.
Will this same cluster be using iPads again next year?
We are taking our time to make sure that thoughtful decisions are being made regarding the next steps with this pilot program. That answer will be determined as the year progresses.
What if I have questions that are not answered here?
Please ask! We welcome your questions and understand that new technology brings forth much discussion: excitement, concern, optimism, and more questions. We can not think of everything are truly open to constructive feedback. Please call us, or send an e-mail to email@example.com if you have questions or concerns.