iPads to be implemented at Silver Creek School

SILVER CREEK – The proposed schedule for introducing iPads to middle and high school students was presented to the Silver Creek Board of Education Wednesday.

The schedule would start with the sixth- and seventh-grade in 2014-2015, then in 2015-2016 the new sixth-graders and ninth-graders would get new iPads (the seventh- and eighth-graders will have iPads from the year before.

The final year of the plan, 2016-2017, would provide new sixth-graders, as well as 11th- and 12th-graders with new iPads (with seventh- through 10th-graders already having iPads).

The school hopes to have state technology aid pay for the tablets.

Elementary School Principal Scott Rudnicki and Technology Coordinator Michael Kempster did research on implementing iPads and visited Pine Valley, where this program has been successful.

The board had many questions.

“Do the kids find them easy to read on?” board President Martha Howard asked.

Rudnicki said students are used to the technology as “digital natives” versus adult “digital immigrants.” He also noted that many of the apps the school intends to utilize are very customizable and afford more auditory accessibility as well. Director of Pupil Personnel Services Lynne Gowan added that there are options which make it easier for special education students to read.

“Will students without WiFi be at a disadvantage,” board member Matt Bogosian asked.

Rudnicki said the school intends to get around the need to have access to the internet by using apps that include all the resources students will need to do their homework. He explained students will sync their iPads each day and that way will receive their assignments and the materials needed to complete the work.

“How long do you expect these to last?” board member Scott Pulver asked.

Rudnicki said after speaking with districts which have implemented iPads there was not the amount of damage districts anticipated.

“In other districts that have done this there was a certain amount of anticipated damage but they have found that hasn’t been there because kids have treated them well,” he said. “I am more worried that they will spill milk on it at lunch by accident.”

Gowan added that the school is purchasing OtterBox cases to help protect against accidental drops.

Rudnicki added the school is also purchasing Apple Care, which covers the first two years and there are more options for fixing the iPads after that.

Bogosian asked about the liability of students. Rudnicki said it would be up to the board if it wanted to recoup the cost of broken iPads.

Bogosian also asked about theft protection. Kempster said the school intends on having tracking on each of the iPads so if one is stolen, the school will know where it is.

“I like that it has everything in one spot,” Board Member Steve Boothe said.

The presentation was given as part of the board’s preparation of the budget and no decisions were made at the meeting. The board will hold its next meeting on Feb. 26.