Page 18 - THE Journal, October 2017
P. 18

| OCTOBER 2017
only happens one time because, if it gets re-imaged, they lose things that they put on the machine.”
Give Students Ownership
Over at Tampa Preparatory School in Florida, families are ultimately responsible for fixing any broken devices at their own expense. As a private institution, Tampa Prep requires all families to purchase Apple iPads. If there is an accident, a loaner cart provides a temporary tablet for one week.
Now that the school is in the fifth year of its iPad BYOD program, Chad Lewis, director of technology for Tampa Prep, characterized the move to Apple’s signature tablet as “highly successful,” mostly thanks to the wide range of apps. “If you standardize on devices, you can standardize on apps,” he said. “We are pretty heavy users of an app called Notability, and that’s how students take their notes. The iPad has proved itself to be not just a consumption device.”
teachers. They bought a cart of Chromebooks, looked into various laptops and ultimately found the iPad to be perfect for the school culture. Every three years at Tampa Prep, families are asked to upgrade and purchase a new iPad with recommended specs for maximum performance.
Stephanie Miller, superintendent for Congress Elementary School District, No. 17, Congress, AZ, sees a similar time horizon for equipment turnover in her rural district. “In the past, we may have been able to say, ‘Ok, we’re going to push this computer for five years,’ but now it’s almost every three years,” she said. “We had one year where kids were on the computers, and the computers were OK, but they weren’t upgraded enough, and so it was taking five minutes for those computers to load. Now that’s ridiculous.
“Sometimes in education budgeting, you say, ‘If it’s not broken, don’t replace it,’ but with technology you don’t wait until that tablet breaks down,” said Miller. “Instead, you must
“They weren’t allowed to put in apps they wanted. They couldn’t download iTunes; they couldn’t do much. So it became almost like a textbook, and we all know how students treat textbooks.”
Among the 675 students in grades 6–12, BYOD is described as “a perfect fit for our middle and high school culture” because it helps students to “take learning into their own hands, and, as a college preparatory school, we really model ourselves more like a university than a public school system.”
Lewis spoke to representatives from other independent schools who chose to institutionally purchase iPads, instead of putting that expense on families. “At those places, there were widespread breakages — broken screens and dropped iPads — because students didn’t have ownership of the iPad,” said Lewis. “They weren’t allowed to put in apps they wanted. They couldn’t download iTunes; they couldn’t do much. So it became almost like a textbook, and we all know how students treat textbooks.”
At Tampa Prep, students are allowed to download any apps they want. For example, a number of students use an app called SoundNote, which allows them to record lectures and take short-hand notes. “When you go back home later that evening and want to listen to the lecture, you may just want to listen to a certain part of it,” said Lewis. “You just touch that word that you took the shorthand for, and it will start playing the lecture back at that point.”
Keep the Tech Current
Prior to selecting iPads five years ago, the school formed an iPilot team, made up of department heads and 20 interested
ask what will facilitate learning and what will be the most beneficial for students.”
Prepare Teachers
Like so many other endeavors in education, success ultimately comes back to professional development. Chad Lewis said he agrees with Lynmara Colon about the importance of professional development to properly prepare teachers. As an exercise in “change management,” a BYOD initiative, as well as similar 1-to- 1 rollouts, can induce anxiety without the right preparation.
“We actually hired a psychologist to help teachers who were very fearful about change and how it would affect their teaching style,” said Lewis. “I’ve seen teachers who were on the verge of tears when we started talking about BYOD to now being one of the primary users of technology in their classrooms.”
“Remember that sometimes the cheapest option is not
the best option,” said Kolhouse. “First purchase or lease machines that are reliable and won’t break down after a couple of months of hard use. And believe me, students can be hard on these devices. Ensure you have the infrastructure to support these machines. I’ve seen schools purchase great machines only to find out they don’t have enough wireless hubs for students to get online. As a result, the 1-to-1 machines sit unused in a cabinet.”
Greg Thompson is a freelance writer based in Fort Collins, CO.

   16   17   18   19   20